Weather has a huge effect on mental health in many ways. During times of extreme changes in weather, different hormones can be triggered due to the lack of sunlight and vitamin D. Most people are indoors more and are also around people less during the colder months, which can be a determining factor for increases in mental health issues.
The colder months bring a lot of happy holiday feelings for people, but for some individuals the holidays are a huge reminder of loved ones that are no longer with them, or other family issues.
What is the importance of mental health awareness?
Although mental health awareness is always an important topic, it is even more important with seasonal depression. Some individuals may not show symptoms year-round; therefore, it is harder to identify seasonal depression and get those who are affected the help that they need.
About 10 million Americans experience seasonal depression that can last around 40% of the year. These mental health changes affect women four times more than men and are linked to biochemical imbalances in the brain prompted by shorter daylight hours and less sunlight.
Bringing awareness that seasonal depression is a mental health issue that may need treatment helps people experiencing these symptoms feel more comfortable reaching out for help.
5 mental health awareness tips for colder weather
Talk with your doctor about how you are feeling
Stick to a schedule throughout your day and week.
Try a seasonal depression vitamin D light to help give you some of those nutrients.
Prioritize social activities so that you have events to look forward to.
Get moving with exercise by trying something new or sticking to what you already know and enjoy.
What can I do to help my mental health throughout the year?
The first step in helping your mental health is to talk about your mental health with others. This will create a safe space for you to ask for help and receive feedback, and for others to feel the same way, too.
Do your best not to dismiss your mental health. If you know that seasonal mental health issues affect you, prepare yourself year-round by doing things such as:
Taking a vitamin D supplement year-round.
Make sure to sign up or schedule events during the colder months.
Plan your vacations during the winter instead of the summer if possible.
Keep up healthy eating habits and regular exercise year-round.
Mental health awareness is critical to you and those around you. Listen and watch for signs of seasonal depression from your loved ones and ask them if they need someone to talk to about what is going on.