Meenal Patel, Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor

I hate to say it, but winter is coming. If you saw our Instagram post from Symmetry Counseling on November 1, 2019, 95% of Symmetry Counselors prefer fall over winter! Do you prefer fall or winter? What is your favorite season? With us having our first snow just a few weeks, on Halloween, we can only prepare for more snow and cold-at least in the Chicagoland area. Unfortunately, the cold lasts a few months, and it actualy does affect our mood even if you have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or not. When the weather changes, especially to the cold, we are needing to adjust to the changes. In this blog, I will help you identify how the seasons do affect our mood.

  • Our coping skills are taken away from us. When I see a lot of clients, when I ask them what coping skills they have, a majority of them will say something around the lines of exercise and being outdoors. When it is cold outside, we tend to not want to be outside, even if that means taking public transportation or taking the dog for a quicker walk than you would during warmer weather. Identify what other coping skills can you utilize when indoors and making sure to practice them throughout the year. Meditation, yoga, coloring, puzzles, baking, reading, etc.
  • Due to not being able to be outside, often times individuals with depression or bipolar disorder, their symptoms tend to worsen (not for all people). Individuals during this time of year tend to stay indoors more and without being able to obtain Vitamin D from the sun can cause moods to fluctuate. Vitamin D is important for our health; if you are unable to obtain sunlight daily, ask your doctor, by Vitamin D supplements can be helpful in balancing your mood. As mentioned earlier, when your coping skills are taken away, your mood changes. Being aware of your mental health and what symptoms are being heightened and compared to which ones are controllable is important for yourself.
  • Cold weather also means that the holiday season is upon us. Depending on where you on the holiday “spectrum” it might affect you more than you know and recognize. Even though the holidays can mean more time with friends and family, it can also mean too much time socializing and not being able to take care of yourself. Traveling can also cause a lot of anxiety and mixed emotions due to having to leave family and friends and getting back to “real life”.

Reminding yourself and others around you, that the weather impacts us all differently and every season can be different to us. Being mindful and aware if weather impacts you when the seasons are changing. Recognize what coping skills you can utilize during the cold weather and making sure that you are engaging in self-care regularly. If you are struggling with the change in seasons, reach out to our talented therapists at Symmetry Counseling to schedule an intake appointment.