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Do you ever feel like everything is going right in your life or notice yourself in a frequent good mood, just to have that feeling completely disappear unexpectedly? This can be a result of seasonal changes, as new temperatures shock the brain and body possibly affecting your mood or happiness. This is called seasonal affective disorder (SAD) which is a type of depression that comes and goes with the seasons.
Different types of SAD can occur depending on the weather such as the agitation of warm temperature causing irritation during sleep or losing appetites which may lead to weight loss. This is called summer SAD which causes depression, irritation,, and often insomnia although each individual is affected differently.
There is little explanation for why this happens, however some believe that the change to intense light affects the brain causing it to be overexcited resulting in anxiety, sleeplessness, and agitation.
There are a couple of tips to overcome summer SAD, such as spending more time in the shade, which will reduce exposure to bright light and rays and offset some of the affects. A second tip is to exercise and eat well, because summer SAD can sometimes keep you on the couch for longer than you should be.
Exercising in the heat can be unappealing which leads many to forfeit their physical activity, leading to further negativity in mental health. If symptoms still occur, speaking to an experienced professional may be the next step in understanding why these extreme temperatures are affecting your mood. Fortunately, warm temperatures only affect a small percentage of those who suffer from SAD, while the majority suffer more from the cold season; this is known as winter SAD.
Most people are affected by the cold weather more than the warm and notice more depressed moods during the winter. Those who are affected by winter SAD find themselves losing interest in activities, having less energy, and feeling depressed throughout the day due to oversleeping, overeating, or staying inside resulting in little social interactions.
Luckily, the symptoms of winter SAD are not permanent and usually are resolved within 4–5 months. Cold weather can often get you feeling depressed or down because of the lack of sun and light which usually cheers us up but can be combated with positive exercises such as meditation or taking on new challenges. The reason for this is because it will allow you to feel accomplished when learning new skills and completing new challenges, as well as the meditation allowing you to focus on yourself and the positive aspects of your life during the cold season.
Although SAD symptoms can occur and bring you down, it is important to recognise why it is happening and combat it with different techniques revolving around what makes you happy or brings enlightenment. Spending time with friends and family, along with participating in passion-filled activities will bring you the joy you so desire in times of extreme temperature changes until the body adjustment occurs.
David Ibrahim is an office manager at Nurturing Connections.
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