Change. It's something we can always count on. And, Mother Nature is no exception to this rule! If you live in a climate with four seasons you know exactly what that means. Even more temperate climates have seasonal changes and shifts. And, for the most part, the shift in the weather patterns can feel renewing, refreshing and exciting.
Imagine the cool crisp air and changing leaves of fall, the cold, shorter days of icy winter, the budding trees and fresh growth of spring, the long, warmer days of summer. Each of those seasons carries unique and favorable qualities that can be appreciated. But, what we don't often consider is how these seasonal changes can impact our bodies and moods.
Your body is an amazing machine and actually has mechanisms in place to help ease the shock of the changing seasons. It's important to be gentle with yourself, listen to your body and remember the changes you are experiencing are the way your body is protecting and caring for you.
One obvious change is the shift in the amount of daylight. During fall and winter, the days become shorter and we likely spend more time indoors while spring and summer allow longer access to daylight hours. This reduction of natural light can have a significant impact not only on our ability to produce vitamin D but may have an impact on our mood. Known clinically as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), this condition may cause major depressive episodes as well as lethargy and tiredness. These two factors can significantly impact an individual's ability to keep a normal routine and overall wellness.
As a result, individuals may feel sluggish and less likely to keep the same active lifestyle habits that they had during spring and summer. When you think about woodland animals, most of them hibernate during the winter. Similarly, our bodies take cues from nature to start making changes to help keep us warm and comfortable during this season. Our bodies not only increase melatonin production (the sleep-inducing hormone), but they also increase insulin resistance which triggers fat production in our livers to store the fat in our tissues thereby preparing us for winter. This can lead to weight gain if not managed properly.
Also, our bodies will be impacted by the dryness of the air due to the shifting levels of temperature and humidity. These shifting factors will force our body to work harder to maintain hydration. Our skin thrives in consistent conditions so every shift in the season is a shock to our system which can lead to dryness or even acne.
It's important to keep an active lifestyle as much as possible as well as to make efforts to spend time in the outdoors and to get as much natural light as possible. You can also use light boxes in your home if you feel you aren't getting enough natural light. Additionally, take extra care to nourish and moisturize your skin during the drier seasons.
The seasons change and our bodies change with them. If you listen and become a student of your body language, you just might discover a different seasonal message of how to best care for yourself during each time of year. It's essential to care for and support your body through whatever season.