“There is a seasonal transition where we say goodbye to summer and hello to autumn. Seasonal transitions can have different effects on people's mental health," said Istanbul Okan University Hospital Psychology Specialist Kln. Ps. Müge Leblebi-cioğlu Arslan made statements about the seasonal transition process.
Seasons transitions; It can cause seasonal mood changes such as feeling unwell, helplessness, depression, hopelessness, weakness and irritability in people. These mood changes can also cause negative effects on people's eating attitudes. While this situation can cause some physiological problems in people, it can increase their dissatisfaction with their bodies and cause an increase in depressive and anxiety symptoms.
Staying home behavior can trigger depressive symptoms
Seasonal affective disorder is a subtype of major depression. However, the difference from depression is that depressive symptoms such as hopelessness, sadness, depression, fatigue and weakness, pessimism, irritability, apathy and reluctance, increase or decrease in appetite, decrease in sexual desire, difficulty in concentration, sleep problems and social withdrawal have been experienced in the last two years and generally. It is seen in certain periods of the year, especially in the autumn or winter months. Many factors play a role in the more frequent occurrence of symptoms, especially in autumn and winter. In autumn and winter months, when the days are shorter and the daylight is less intense, people can see more staying home behavior, less social and physical activity, and less emotional sharing due to the weather. This situation can make it difficult for people to cope with stressful situations by isolating them, and thus can be a factor in triggering depressive symptoms.
Overeating should not be consumed in order to cope with emotions.
However, with increasing depressive affect in autumn and winter months, people may show excessive eating behavior in order to cope with their negative mood. This situation can increase weight gain, increase dissatisfaction with their bodies, feel intense guilt, and increase depressive symptoms such as unhappiness and depression. On the contrary, in spring and summer, with the effect of good weather, spending more time outside, being in more social environments and being more active can increase positive emotions in people.
Lack of daylight can trigger depressive symptoms
Another factor that is thought to contribute to the negative mood of people in seasonal transitions is the negative effect of this cycle on hormonal balance. It can be said that with the decrease of daylight, serotonin and endorphin releases tend to decrease and in this case, it can trigger depressive symptoms. However, it is thought that longer-term melatonin release in the autumn and winter months initiates the energy storage process in the organism, causing more food intake and more sleep.
What should be done in this situation?
Behaviors that increase behavioral activity such as sports or walking outdoors, a sleep pattern in which the body is sufficiently rested in a dark and quiet environment, and having a healthy eating attitude play a very important role in protecting us from the negative effects of seasonal transitions on our mental health. When people choose to suppress their negative emotions instead of expressing them, or choose one of the dysfunctional coping methods such as overeating, their symptoms may increase. Contrary to dysfunctional coping methods, engaging in social activities, making room for hobbies in life, sharing with family and close friends, choosing open spaces that also benefit from daylight instead of closed spaces can have positive effects on people's moods. In addition, it can be said that activities that will relax the individual such as yoga, meditation and relaxation exercises play a very important role in increasing the well-being of people.
However, if you are in an intense emotional state that you have difficulty in coping with, if this situation negatively affects your functionality, if depressive symptoms continue with the same intensity or increasing, getting psychotherapy support is very important for the person's psychological well-being.