Even if seasons change regularly around the same time each year, there’s no doubt that the changes can take a toll on our overall well-being. We don’t only go out of the weather physically but adjusting to a new season also brings some challenges to our mental health.
How does the change affect us?
When seasons change, it may seem like the only ones that need to adjust are our bodies and lifestyles. People get new clothes, get furnace tune-ups, buy in-season food, plan for seasonal activities, and many more.
But in reality, our mental health also makes an effort to adjust. During the time we try to adjust, we become prone to seasonal affective disorder or SAD. It’s a type of depression that’s associated with seasonal changes. It starts and ends around the same time every year, according to changes in seasons.
While it’s true that not everyone experiences SAD, there are people whose symptoms begin to show during the start of the fall and into the cold winter months. It makes people experiencing it feel a lack of physical energy and moodiness. But SAD isn’t only experienced during the colder months of the year. It’s also possible for someone to experience SAD in the spring and summer months, although cases are lower.
How is SAD treated?
The known treatments for SAD are:
Phototherapy or light therapy is a treatment done through sitting or working near a device called a “light therapy box.” A light therapy box can give off bright lights that are similar to natural outdoor light. Phototherapy affects our brain’s chemicals linked to sleep and mood, which are affected by SAD symptoms. The light therapy box can also help with other types of depression and sleep disorders.
Oftentimes, antidepressants are prescribed to treat cases of SAD that are in the severe threshold. But the evidence of antidepressants against SAD is limited.
The preferred type of antidepressants is selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs. They increase the serotonin hormone levels, which helps improve your mood.
If you’re experiencing severe SAD symptoms, it’s best to consult the right doctors that can help you with treatment and prescribe medication if needed. Don’t just take antidepressants without medical advice because each type has its own side effects.
Meeting therapists for regular sessions when you’re experiencing SAD symptoms is also an option to address the effects of SAD. Having a conversation with trained counselors about how you’re feeling would greatly help you see things through, and if needed, they’ll be the ones to direct you to move more or less intensive types of treatment necessary.
What are the best ways to adjust to changes in seasons?
Since it’s inevitable for us to transition from one season to the next, we must learn the best methods of adjusting to changes. This may or may not help you address the more severe effects of seasonal changes, but it’s best to keep these in mind any time you’re preparing for the new season underway:
A good way to not make things hard on your body and mind is to be gentle with yourself. If you had things you wanted to achieve in the last seasons but failed to do so, it’s completely fine to take things slow.
With a new season, your well-being should be your number one priority. If you have fitness goals from the previous months, gradually build your body to exercise in different weather.
It won’t be easy on your body to go for morning runs when it’s too cold or hot outside.
No matter the season, the best way to help your body adjust to new temperatures and environments is to be well-hydrated. Drink a lot of water when you can because you’ll feel more energized, and you’ll avoid drinking too much coffee, which can ruin your sleep cycle.
Depending on the doctor’s advice, take vitamins that can help your body fight seasonal illnesses and help you be more energized when you need to be. Along with eating healthily, take vitamins that will supply your body with what it needs to transition and stay healthy during the season
Granted, seasons change consistently. Our bodies can’t easily get used to the amount of adjustment they have to do every time to protect themselves from natural elements. Sometimes, the adjustment can be a rocky road, and asking for help is completely acceptable. So take the necessary steps to ensure you are protected even from the changing season.