Well, summer officially ended a few weeks ago — marking the comeback of fall, football, and the holiday season. Have you ever noticed that your mood and health are affected when the seasons change?
How much you feel (or don’t feel) the effects that changing seasons has on your mood and health happen for a variety of reasons. The changing seasons can impair both your mental and physical health — but it doesn’t have to.
In this article, we’ll look at the biggest differences the seasons can have on your mood and health and recommend products that will help you feel as good as you do in summer if you suffer from the autumn or winter “blues.”
Let’s hop right into it…
1. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is an old name to describe Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) with a seasonal pattern. Basically, this is where you start to feel more depressed as summer turns into fall and fall turns into winter.
Typically, symptoms get worse leading up to the peak of winter. Symptoms of SAD are similar to the common symptoms of depression — including fatigue, feelings of hopelessness, lack of concentration, social isolation, irritability, mood swings, and a general loss of interest in pleasurable activities.
So the question is why do some people suffer from SAD?
The biggest reason that some people suffer from SAD is because there’s naturally less sunlight in the fall and winter months. The days get shorter and colder, so it’s harder for people to absorb as much sunlight than the spring and summer months.
When you don’t spend as much time in the sun, your body creates less vitamin D. And low vitamin D levels have been linked to a greater risk of depression. Your body also relies on sunshine and vitamin D (among other nutrients) to produce serotonin. Low serotonin levels are also linked to an increased risk of depression.
But that’s not all that happens.
Having less access to direct sunlight also signals your brain to produce more melatonin — the hormone that regulates your sleep-wake cycle. And while melatonin is usually associated with better sleep, if your body produces too much of it (and too little serotonin) then you could actually get worse sleep and feel more fatigued.
When your sleep suffers, your mood suffers too. This is why SAD creates a vicious cycle that continually deteriorates your life as winter progresses.
To help ease the impact SAD has on you, supplementing with Vitamin D is a great option.
My favorite Vitamin D supplement is Perfect D3 Drops — it’s the most effective form of natural Vitamin D3, contains 1,000IU of natural Vitamin D3 per drop, is easily absorbed by your body, and contains no preservatives, fillers, flow agents, or artificial colors or flavors.
You can order a bottle of Perfect D3 Drops from Nourishing World here.
Now, onto the next reason the changing seasons can affect your mood and health…
2. Cold weather places physiological stress on you
Many people feel more tired during the fall and winter months than they do the rest of the year. And part of the reason is because cold weather burdens you with extra physiological stress.
This is partly due to getting less sleep during winter months due to the imbalance of your melatonin and serotonin levels that come from a lack of sunlight. When your sleep gets worse, you have less energy to get through your day.
And when you have less energy, a couple of things happen:
1. You become more susceptible to stress — which affects your immune system, mood, and leads to overeating (especially with junk foods that have no nutritional value).
2. You’re more prone to be sedentary — meaning you’ll watch more TV than usual and exercise less than usual (which also affects your immune system and mood). Also, when you’re more sedentary, you spend more time indoors — which can expose you to harmful indoor pollutants (such as chemicals, bacteria, mold, and mildew) that can be more harmful to your health than living in a smoggy city.
In addition to these mental changes that happen when you’re under physiological stress, there are some physical changes that happen too.
The most common one is your general posture changes. Think about it for a second: when the weather’s nice and warm, your shoulders are broad, your chest is open, and your chin is up. However, when there’s colder weather, your body reverts back into itself — your shoulders come together, your chest closes up, and you keep your chin down.
While these seem like small and silly changes, they make a powerful impact on your mental and overall health.
The physical changes in your body make you more prone to tension headaches and put additional strain on your neck, shoulders, and upper back muscles.
And it can decrease your testosterone levels, increase your cortisol levels, and weaken your immune system.
If you notice that you frequently “slouch” your body during winter months, try taking a few deep breaths and adjusting your posture and notice how it makes you feel different.
Another way to combat the extra physiological stress that cold weather has on you is to supplement with an adaptogenic herb like Rhodiola Rosea.
Adaptogenic herbs help your body build resistance to all kinds of stressors — including extreme cold or heat, toxic chemicals, sleep deprivation, and depression. That’s why Russians and Scandinavians have been using Siberian Rhodiola Rosea for centuries to cope with the cold Siberian climate. In fact, Russian cosmonauts and Olympic athletes have been known to take Rhodiola Rosea to enhance their endurance and stamina.
Perfect Supplements has formulated an absolutely wonderful Siberian Rhodiola Rosea supplement called Perfect Rhodiola Rosea. Like all Perfect Supplements brand products, Perfect Rhodiola Rosea is exceptional due to the use of a process that retains the maximum level of nutrients without using nasty chemicals.
You can order a bottle of Perfect Rhodiola Rosea from Nourishing World here.
3. You’re more likely to get sick
This is where the vicious cycle of everything we’ve discussed so far comes back and impacts your health.
While it’s a misconception that colder weather causes sickness directly, it does indirectly affect your health. When you combine the added stress, lack of sleep, poor mood, postural changes, and weakened immune system that colder weather causes for some people, it makes you more susceptible to all sorts of diseases.
To make this worse:
Your immune system is probably not as strong as it typically is due to the COVID-19 restrictions that caused some of us to get less sunlight than normal, workout less than we normally would, be more prone to depression, and be less exposed to healthy germs because of social distancing and overuse of sanitizer.
This is creating a recipe for disaster for this year’s cold and flu season. So it’s extra important that you restrengthen your immune system as much as possible before winter officially gets here.
There are several supplements you can take to boost your immune system in the winter months. (The Perfect Vitamin D3 and Rhodiola Rosea mentioned earlier will help too!)
Here are some of my favorite ones (click on the name below if you’d like to learn more about them and purchase a bottle:
- Rosita Cod Liver Oil — one of the best daily supplements you can take to help prevent sickness and various diseases.
- Organic High Vitamin C Powder — an excellent immune system booster (and one teaspoon contains as much vitamin C as 16 oranges!)
- 100% Australian Oyster Extract — a natural source of immune boosting zinc (and a natural source of many other important nutrients your body needs).
- Perfect Açai — which boosts the production of human gamma delta T cells (which are an important part of your immune system)
- Thrive Probiotics — which could help stop the growth of harmful gut bacteria and boost your overall immune system. It’s also thought that they could promote the production of natural antibodies in your body, which will arm your body to better fight infections.
Or you can feel free to browse our entire collection of immunity supplements here.