Seasonal Mood Shifts
by Kim Palmer, 18th September 2023
The transition from summer to autumn can be a mixed bag in terms of our moods, our energy levels and stress. For some, the change marks another fresh start, a chance to welcome in new comforts like wearing slippers, getting cosy in bed, lighting candles and the magnificent colours that come with nature all around us. But many people find themselves feeling uneasy, a bit off, a bit flat and you are not alone in feeling this way. The reasons behind your struggle with the transition can be complex, but there are practical steps you can take to ease the low mood and stress.
But before we delve into these it can be super helpful to get some insight into why some people experience changes in mood/stress levels during the transition from summer to autumn.Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): It's quite common for some individuals to experience a SAD during the autumn and winter months. SAD is believed to be linked to reduced exposure to sunlight, which can disrupt your body's internal clock (circadian rhythm) and lead to mood changes. The decrease in sunlight can also affect the production of certain brain chemicals like serotonin and melatonin, which play a crucial role in regulating mood and sleep.
Biological Changes: The reduction in daylight hours can impact your body's production of vitamin D, which is essential for overall well-being. Lower levels of vitamin D have been associated with feelings of fatigue and low mood.
Adjustment Period: The transition from the carefree days of summer to the more structured routines of autumn can be an adjustment. It's not uncommon for people to experience stress when they need to adapt to new schedules, routines and responsibilities.
Psychological Factors: For some, the changing seasons can evoke memories or emotions associated with past experiences. For instance, if you have had challenging or sad experiences during the autumn season in the past, it might contribute to your current low mood.
Ok so now we know a bit more about why we might be feeling a bit low, sad or stressed than usual. Here are a few different tactics you can use to help you transition. And perhaps over time learn to love the welcoming of a new season.
Embrace the Change: Accept that change is a natural part of life, just like the changing of seasons. Rather than resisting it, try to embrace the unique qualities that autumn brings. Focus on the positives, such as cozy evenings, pumpkin-spiced treats, and the beauty of falling leaves.
Plan Activities: Engage in activities that you find enjoyable during autumn. This could include strolls in nature, cooking something new, re-organise your clothes and bring out all the winter ones. Planning these activities can give you something to look forward to and help shift your perspective.
Stay Connected: Maintain your social connections, even as the days get shorter. Spending time with loved ones, whether in person or virtually, can provide much-needed support and a sense of belonging.
Slow down: It’s ok to hunker down during this time so find ways to do thi with your current routine. A few deep breaths as you brew a cuppa, a few extra stretches when you wake up, listening to Clementine as you lock yourself in the loo. Our new mini-mindset sessions are brill for pairing with everyday activities
Seek help: If your low mood and stress persist and interfere significantly with your daily life, consider reaching out to your GP or local services that might be able to help. Please also know that if you can’t afford Clementine but need it we can help you by giving you a free membership. All you need to do is email us. We won’t ask questions and we never judge.
Right before we sign off from this we have asked a few of our team to share their own personal tips for how they cope with the transition from summer to autumn.
Becca McLeish - Cognitive Hypnotherapist
My tip would be to have a focus using Values. Choose 3 values that feel good and use them as guidance for the coming months. By becoming aware of whether you're living aligned to your values you create an easy framework to love by. And when you're feeling out of sorts it helps to consider if you've been using your values and how you can bring them more into your everyday life.
Atifa Balding - Integrated Health Specialist
Everyone's needs are different, so it's important to listen to your mindbody by tuning in and tuning out the external chatter (not easy I know!). The transition from the summer to autumn marks the beginning of introspection when we ready ourselves for winter. Teachings from the book of Tao say if ‘you are obligated to stay in the world, then you might still want to practice the art of tranquility and execute withdrawal on a more microcosmic scale’.
My interpretation of this is to cultivate delicious daily moments of self-care that will provide nourishment during the cold months. My favourite way to do this is to spend time massaging my hands in the evening and on waking to greet your day as you wish to begin it. The simple act of massage also serves a multifaceted purpose, and that it provides nourishment for dry skin-something that occurs in colder months-but also practised with steady breathing or a longer exhale gives the added bonus of pure & delicious mindfulness. We can all spare a few moments to greet our hands. Perhaps allocating one evening or morning, for a longer nourishing massage. Warming up your favourite oil and massaging your scalp, hands and feet. Wrapping yourself up and letting the oils work their magic. All ready for winter!
Kim Palmer - Founder, Clementine
Gratitude baby. I’m trying to really embrace all the things I love about chillier weather. Like putting on my high top trainers, enjoying getting into a cold bed, seeing the leaves change. I’m looking out for the changes and really acknowledging the good stuff.
El - Clementine designer and social manager
“Letting light IN! Also at night, I love to use my mood lamp. There are so many different colours that project onto the ceiling. It’s so relaxing!”