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Seasonal changes impact emotions, energy levels


Dear Ted: As the days get colder and darker, I notice that my emotions seem be dropping as well. Is this just me being a hypochondriac or is there truly something some sort of correlation with seasons and emotions? Thank you, Getting Cold

Dear Getting Cold, The timing of your question is perfect as the days are becoming colder and the days are becoming shorter. For many people this time of the year is emotionally difficult due to the obvious changes. A good thing to remember is that the human system continues to respond to seasonal changes and tries to adjust no differently than any other animal.

Many people will feel their bodies start to slow down, gain weight, feel irritated, and/or depressed this time of the year. In the clinical world this may be called Seasonal Adjustment Disorder in which your body and psyche prepare for the winter. In today's world you may have a tendency of ignoring the body's response to the seasonal changes. Emotional and physical fluctuations due to changes within the seasons are real and worthwhile to pay attention to be aware of what is going on around internally and externally.

Even though you may not hibernate like a bear it is a good correlation as the bear adjusts and radically changes with each season. Unlike the bear, it seems people have a tendency of resisting change and enjoy consistency which makes it more difficult to adjust to changes. As the leaves fall, the cold arrives, and the days become darker, you may find yourself aware of the change that is happening all around you. Giving yourself permission to have emotional changes and being aware of them may help you adjust to the seasonal transitions. This time period may cause you to be more melancholy, where society may have taught you that such a feeling is not a positive thing.

In actuality, taking time to be more introspective can allow you to step out of your routines and have insight into your life in those areas you would like to change and in areas you would like to encourage a higher quality of life. This time of the year can also be a time that you are reminded of the upcoming holidays that may cause many different emotions to bubble to the surface of your consciousness. In the next week there is Halloween, Dia de los Muertos, All Saints Day, and probably additional holidays I don't even know about.

As a society, we move into a time of a seasonal drop where our systems are made to recharge and yet, there is a social expectation that people should come together in celebration. This double message can be difficult. If you can be aware of the seasonal changes, honor the transitional process, and give yourself permission to feel and be aware of what is going on internally and externally, you may find that you can honor your feelings. This will help you walk through the seasons with a level of conscious acknowledgment that seasonal changes do affect people and that is OK and healthy.

Thank you for the question. I wish you well. Until next week, take care.

Golden Willow Retreat is a nonprofit organization focused on emotional healing and recovery from any type of loss. Direct any questions to Ted Wiard, LPCC, CGC, Founder of Golden Willow Retreat at (575) 776-2024 or

This column seeks to help educate our community about emotional healing through grief. People may write questions to Golden Willow Retreat and they will be answered privately to you and possibly as a future article for others. Please list a first name that grants permission for printing.