When days grow shorter and multicoloured carpet of fallen leaves covers the ground, many people start feeling down. They lack energy and enthusiasm for practically anything and find it very hard to bring up some kind of motivation. But where does that come from?And what can you do about it?
The main causes
Even though the causes of this so-called seasonal affective disorder (SAD) are still uncertain, but there is one correlation that is undisputed: It is fairly obvious that the lack of sunlight plays a crucial role in this regard – causing various effects:
- Your inner clock sets according to the hours of sunlight available and seems to get al confused when the surrounding day/night rhythm doesn’t match with your daily routine. In other words: Getting up when it is still pitch dark irritates your organism and can lead to affective disorders.
- A second issue adding to the problem is the fact that sunlight promotes the synthesis of the feel-good-hormone serotonin. With the sunlight your exposed to decreases both, in duration and intensity, your serotonin levels go down as well – and a lack of serotonin is known to cause people to feel depressed.
- What makes things even worse that while the serotonin levels decrease, the levels of another hormone called melatonin, which is known as the sleeping hormone. What is more than welcome at nighttime, when it helps you fall asleep, turns into a boomerang during the daytime: It causes a permanent feeling of fatigue, making it really hard to make it through a busy day. It is quite obvious you don’t feel terribly happy about that…
What can you do about it
It is plain to see that you can’t really do anything about the days growing shorter. Nevertheless, there are great strategies for breaking this vicious circle. Here come three easy ways to brighten up your autumn mood!
- Go outside!
Although the sunlight might not be as strong as it used to be duringthe summertime, going out and exposing yourself to the warm rays of autumn sun will surely recharge your batteries. Even on a foggy or cloudy day the sunlight is still strong enough to improve your mood! So why not spend your lunch break outside, getting some sun along with some fresh air. This will help you to feel energized enough to face the challenges awaiting you in the afternoon!
- At least 10 minitues of exercise a day!
Adding at least 10 minutes of high intensity workout to your daily routine not only reduces your risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. Studies prove that exercising also immediately stimulates your production of serotonin, thus helping to fight the weather induced lack of this happy hormone. For optimum results, try and workout outdoors, so you can combine exercise with an extra share of daylight.
- Ban electronic devices from your bedroom!
Most computers and mobile devices come with displays that emit blue light that reduces the production of melatonin. Whilst during the daytime, melatonin might give you hard times, in the evening it helps you fall asleep. An impaired production of melatonin caused to the blue light emitted by your device therefore results in difficulties falling asleep. To make things even worse, your not only lacking the hours of sleep you lose – the melatonin you failed to produce in the evening is released to your system with a delay, so you get up with high melatonin levels in the morning when feeling sleepy comes in anything but handy.