The darker days around winter solstice can have a significant impact on mood for some people. With limited sunlight exposure, it can affect your mood more than you’d expect.
Seasonal changes, particularly with reduced daylight hours, can lead to a condition known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Its name is perfectly apt as symptoms include low energy moodiness, sadness, and a lack of motivation.
When your sunlight exposure is reduced it can drastically affect the body’s internal clock.
It even disrupts the balance of chemicals including serotonin and melatonin, which play roles in regulating mood and sleep patterns.
Even symptoms of depression or a general feeling of being down during the darker months can sneak in around this time. Which is why it is especially important for you to be aware of this change and what you can do to keep it at bay.
Not everyone is affected in the same way by the winter darkness.
Some people might not notice any significant changes in their mood, or may even enjoy the colder months around winter solstice. So if you see some people not feeling the same way you do, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t feel the way you feel. You might be more susceptible to these seasonal shifts.
You might feel slightly more snappy in instances that wouldn’t usually annoy you, or you find yourself with less energy or enthusiasm for the things that you normally enjoy.
Other examples of how the darkness can affect your mood include:
- Not wanting to go out or see people as much as usual
- Finding is increasingly difficult to get out of bed in the morning
- Canceling plans you were previously looking forward to
That’s not to say that we have to just sit tight and wait for summer daylight savings to kick in.
When your chemical balance is in need of some TLC, there are some things you can do to either boost your energy or serotonin levels just whilst things seem a little darker that usual:
- Any kind of exercise, for any amount of time, has huge benefits in boosting your mood, energy and making the winter feel somewhat more tolerable.
- Make use of the limited daylight hours whilst you can. Make more trips to the corner shop, walk around the block or go for a drive in the day just to soak in the light whilst it’s there.
- Hearty, comfort food can feel like the go-to at the moment, but be sure to add balance to your diet. Heavy food can bring your energy levels further down and exacerbate your symptoms.
- Talk talk talk. Finding a professional to talk to can offer you a safe space to vocalise how you’re feeling and validate your mood during this time.