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How do the seasons affect our mood?

Winter often brings cold, clouds, and overall gloomy conditions. While seeing snow can be exciting, winters can also cause mental and emotional strain on the people it impacts. If you’ve ever noticed a change in your mood after the days start getting shorter, you may be suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder. Jaclyn Valadka who is the Associate Director for Mizzou's Psychological Services Clinic explains what Seasonal Affective Disorder is. “Seasonal Affective Disorder is a sub-disorder of depression, and it’s when people experience a marked change in their mood when the seasons change.”

Many people suffer from this, and it can show itself in a variety of ways. “[It] impacts people differently as all mental disorders do for the most part. There are common symptoms to look out for. The first symptom, which we’ve already talked about, is that feeling of sadness or serious mood shift when the seasons change. There’s other symptoms like lack of energy, overeating, lack of sleep, or an overall loss of interest in things that you usually enjoy.”

Luckily, many people start to see an improvement in their mood when the hours of sunshine begin to increase. It may take a while for your mood to come back to normal, but there are some things you can do until then. Jaclyn suggests taking advantage of the sunshine whenever you get the chance and getting outside at any possible time in the winter. You can also look into supplementing your vitamin D intake.

The most important thing is to validate the way you’re feeling. It’s science based on how the weather is impacting your mood.

Insider Blog / Video / Weather Video

Maddie Est

Maddie Est appears on ABC 17’s weekend evening broadcasts. She grew up in St. Louis, and her passion for weather originated from a young age thanks to all the different weather that St. Louis receives. She is currently studying Atmospheric Science at the University of Missouri.


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