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Anxiety, Stress & Coping
August 28, 2023
Navigating Seasonal Change: Tips and Tricks for Smooth Transitions

Shift Team

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Seasonal Change: 101

Feeling down as the colder, darker months approach? 

Have you ever felt depressed or blue for no apparent reason when Fall or Winter arrives, only to find your spirits lifting as Summer comes? If you’ve experienced this, you’re not alone. This happens to many of us, but don’t worry – there are ways to get ready for the changing seasons and make yourself feel better. In this blog, we’ll talk about why this happens and what you can do to be happier during the chilly months.

Why seasonal change makes you feel “blah.”

Why do we sometimes feel sad during the colder, dark months? Well, there are a few reasons:

  • Less sunlight: The days grow shorter, and less sunlight means less of the mood-boosting chemical serotonin. This shortage of sunlight can leave us feeling sad and tired.
  • Melatonin disruption: Fall and Winter’s shorter days can disrupt our body’s melatonin production, making us feel more sleepy and less energetic.
  • Social isolation: Colder weather often confines us indoors, reducing social interactions. Loneliness and depressive symptoms can start to creep in.
  • Exclusive sleep and comfort eating: Our daily routines can go haywire in the colder months, causing us to oversleep and turn to calorie-laden comfort foods, leading to changes in our appetite and energy levels.

Do other people feel the same way?

Yes! This seasonal mood shift is called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). It’s common in Canada, starting in the Fall and continuing through Winter, sharing many symptoms with major depressive disorder. These symptoms include persistent sadness, loss of interest in activities, changes in sleep patterns, weight fluctuations, fatigue, concentration difficulties, and irritability.

Five ways to prep for seasonal change: 

  1. Know the seasonal changes: Understand that seasonal changes can affect your mood and behaviour due to less sunlight, and colder weather.
  2. Enjoy sunlight: Spend more time outside during the day or wake up earlier to catch some sunshine. Special lights that imitate sunlight can also help improve your mood in winter.
  3. Simple lifestyle tweaks: Make easy changes in your daily routine, like exercising regularly, eating well, and managing stress. These can help you combat the effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
  4. Stay connected: Don’t go it alone. Keep in touch with your friends and family. Socializing can be a powerful remedy for the winter blues, so avoid isolation.
  5. Consider professional help: If you feel really down and it’s affecting your life, consider talking to a therapist or counsellor. They can give you the support and guidance needed to regain your best self.

The arrival of Fall and Winter can bring about sadness and melancholy for many, but understanding the reasons behind these emotions can help us better prepare. By increasing sunlight exposure, making lifestyle adjustments, staying connected with loved ones, and seeking professional support when necessary, you can equip yourself to tackle the effects of seasonal change and embrace the changes with a brighter outlook. 

Remember, you’re not alone in these feelings; there are effective ways to find happiness even on the coldest, gloomiest days. If speaking to a professional therapist is on your mind, Shift Collab has a team of incredible humans ready to support you! You can also try out our matching questionnaire, which will give you instant therapist matches based on your needs and preferences. 

This article was written by Jena Zhou during their time at Shift Collab.

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