10th September 2019

Feeling Grumpy and Tired This Week? Blame It On The Change In Seasons

Can you feel that? There’s definitely a chill in the air.

Already those long summer nights of ten o’clock sunsets and dancing under the stars feel like a long forgotten memory.

It’s back to work, school or uni, and the return of dark nights and cold mornings.

Whilst some people are getting excited about pumpkin spiced lattes and cosy nights by the fire, not all of us feel positive about the change.

With the dramatic shift in temperature, and the suddenly dark nights, it’s unsurprising that for some the autumn means feeling a bit tired and low.

And, it’s probably not helped by the news that we are headed towards the coldest winter in 30 years.

But, fear not – you’re not alone.

It turns out it’s really normal to feel a bit rubbish as the seasons change.

Here’s why:

The shift from spring to summer is always a positive one

Whilst it would be easy to go all scientific (and I will later), it’s also fairly obvious why we feel a bit crappy at this time of year.

When you come out of those long dark winter months, into fresh aired and sun drenched spring, you feel as though the whole summer is ahead of you.

So, it’s not surprising that we feel more positive when we are headed into a period of warm weather, long days and vacations.

This, however, is the exact opposite of how we feel come the end of the summer.

Summer turning to autumn can trigger negative feelings and low mood

By the end of August, you can start to feel slightly deflated.

It’s a weird time.

You might be going back to school, coming back off a two week holiday in the sun, knowing that the next break isn’t until Christmas.

There are no bank holidays on the horizon, and everyone, including yourself, is grumpy.

I think of this time as similar to the Sunday evening blues (except times one thousand).

You know on a Sunday night, when you get the fear, feeling the dread of a full working week just ahead of you?

This is the same.

Except instead of a working week, it’s a long, dark, freezing cold winter.

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a common condition

For many people, this feeling is made much worse by the fact that they suffer from a condition called Season Affective Disorder (SAD).

SAD is a form of depression that occurs during the winter time, and is thought to be triggered by a lack of natural light.

This condition scientifically proves that the change in season can have a direct affect on how you’re feeling.

And, with decreasing light levels, comes a changing body clock.

Natural l light levels influence our circadian clock, dictating when we should start to feel sleepy, and when we should wake up in the morning.

This biological ticker also affects mood, temperature, hormones and metabolism.

So, when that’s thrown off, so are we.

With your body adjusting to a new rhythm, and the environment changing, you’re bound to feel a bit lacklustre.

How to handle the autumn blues

So, what can you do to get feeling bright again?

Here are some tips to help you get through the season change:

  • Open your curtains wide, and let as much natural light in as possible.
  • Allow yourself to sleep. Pack those early nights in, if you feel like you need them.
  • See your friends – they’ll probably be feeling the same as you.
  • Accept the process. Don’t beat yourself up for feeling down.
  • Eat warm healthy meals.
  • Consider investing in a light therapy lamp. They’ve been proven the most affective treatment for SAD.

And remember, such a big shift in the environment is bound to take its toll, so be kind to yourself.

 

By Charlotte Ellis