It is Spring in Ontario and the weather has not exactly been picture-perfect, has it? Almost every day during the past few weeks, a client has come into the office and talked about how tired they are, and how awful the weather has been, how they’re not motivated and feeling down in the dumps or lethargic. Anyone else feel like they can’t get ahead, are stuck in a low mood or experiencing anxiety?
Are you wondering if the sun is ever going to shine again?
The Link Between Sunshine and Mood
Is there a link between the sunshine, weather and mood? The simple answer is yes. Several studies have shown a link between serotonin, the feel good brain chemical, sunlight and your skin. Less sunlight means less serotonin production which leads to lower mood and potentially higher anxiety, depression, and even suicidal thoughts. But wait, there are things you can do to combat the blahs.
Tips for Mood Improvement
- Talk to someone. Confide in a close friend or trusted professional. It can ease the burden when another person tells you they feel the same way.
- Get outside even if it is overcast or raining. There really is no such thing as “bad” weather, just inappropriate clothing.
- Take advantage of the sun even if it is only for a few moments during your busy work day. The old adage about “soaking up the sun” is real! (Remember to wear your sunscreen.)
- Vitamin D supplements will help. If you took them during the Winter do not stop now. If you’re wondering whether you are Vitamin D deficient, talk to your medical doctor. There is a simple test to measure Vitamin D levels in your body.
- Exercise – Try a new activity for Spring. Get up earlier and go for a walk at dawn or at the end of the day. Putter in the garden. Borrow a bike and go for a ride.
- Sleep – Work on getting a few extra winks. Sounds obvious doesn’t it, but have you stopped to think about how much sleep you are actually getting? Recommended time is 6-8 hours.
- Massage Therapy has been shown to increase levels of serotonin and dopamine.
Take some time for self-care and help improve your mood.
Selected Studies on Sunlight, Season and Serotonin:
If you would like to talk about your mood and more ways you can improve it, please contact me, Annette Poechman or book an appointment online. Many extended health plans cover “Registered Psychotherapy” and/or “Supervised Psychological Practice”. Check your plan for coverage. I also work in conjunction with a number of Employee and Family Assistance Programs Learn more about Annette Poechman. Reach out today and take the next step towards better mental health. Listening. Guiding. Caring.