Adjusting to Seasonal Changes

By Heather Matzkowitz, LMSW

With autumn right around the corner it's common to start noticing shifts in your mood. When your mind and body experience changes in the environment that come along with a new season, it can be difficult to adjust.

One of the most significant changes as we move into autumn is that there is less sunlight exposure throughout the day. Lack of sunlight can cause some of us to feel dysregulated, and sometimes even cause us to experience symptoms of depression. This is called seasonal affected disorder, also known as SAD.

If you are experiencing symptoms of depression, in addition to seeking therapy, it may be beneficial to invest in a light therapy box, which has been scientifically proven to help prevent and treat SAD. Light therapy boxes work by mimicking the light from the sun, which cause chemical changes in the brain that can lead to an increase in mood and well-being. However, be sure to speak with a health care professional before investing in a light box. The combination of therapy and a light therapy box may help you overcome the lull you might feel with seasonal changes. 

In addition to therapy and a light therapy box, another way I lift my mood is by focusing on the things related to the specific season that bring me joy. For example, in autumn the leaves on the trees change into beautiful colors, so each time I am outside I make sure to be mindful of this and try to go for as many walks as possible.

Another aspect of autumn that I love is all seasonal foods. I don’t know about you, but I love pumpkin!  And once autumn comes around it means that there is pumpkin-flavored everything. If you enjoy pumpkin the way I do, make it a mission to try out different-pumpkin flavored foods this season. Additionally, Halloween happens to be one of my favorite holidays. If this is the case with you too, then put Halloween decorations around your apartment or take a trip on the weekend to a pumpkin patch. Reminding yourself of the things you enjoy during autumn (and other seasons) can help to elevate your mood and keep you feeling balanced.

Heather Matzkowitz is a therapist at Cobb Psychotherapy. If you would like support with navigating transitions, visit cobbpsychotherapy.com to learn more about how therapy can help.