Does your mood change with the Seasons?
I’m as cold as ICE!
A 2008 study by J. Denison and colleagues looked at how temperature, wind power, sunlight, day length, precipitation, and air pressure effected mood. Over 1,000 people completed online diaries he linked with weather station data. The full research article is listed below. The researchers determined changes in temperature, wind, and sunlight had negative effects on mood. Seems obvious to those of us with seasonal affect disorder (SAD). Once it’s darker in the mornings, many of us struggle getting out of bed. Those shorter days cause high carb food cravings, and we start packing on the pounds. Our Thanksgiving and Christmas food fests add insult to injury. No wonder we feel down. Ugh! What to do?
Here are a few TIPS from the TRAIL to break this insidious cycle:
1. Get a SAD Therapy Light. Amazon has a ton of choices. Adding some additional light to your morning routine might improve the quality of your winter days.
2. Take extra Vitamin D. Ask your medical provider for a simple blood test first so you know how much to take everyday. Even if you are an avid outdoors person, the use of sunscreen prevents us from absorbing adequate amounts of Vitamin D. Low vitamin D means low seratonin, which means low mood.
3. Get a Carhartt or other type of warm snow clothes, a pair of yaktraxs, boot heaters, hand warmers, and hit the trails! Grab a friend as you go out the door. According to the Scandinavians, “there’s no such thing as bad weather, it’s just bad clothing.”
4. If adding light therapy to your morning routine, taking vitamin D, getting outdoors everyday for even 30 minutes doesn’t lift your mood, consider seeing your medical provider and/or a therapist. Weather changes can effect our moods, but some of us have depression and mood shifting all year round. Get help and make this season brighter for you and your loved ones.
Peace, love, health, and hope to you this winter. And, happy trails, Allison