Updated: Nov 7
I'm a summer girl. I do find delights in every season but deep down I'm a summer girl. I like stomping around in crisp autumn leaves, I take great delight in snuggling under a blanket and I love, love, love my Bobble Hat. But the trouble is, the shorter days, the cooler temperatures and the changes that these bring to my life can leave me feeling more dispairing than delighted.
Whilst some are rejuvenated by the chilly air, I just want to stay in bed and eat carbs, carbs and more carbs. In fact, usually, by the time January rolls around, I am well and truly fed up. The photoreceptors in my body have received less sunlight than during the Spring and Summer and underlying symptoms of anxiety and depression have been triggered. The changes in the environment have effected the biological "clockwork" in my brain and this has affected the levels of neurotransmitters which impact on my well being.
I have timed this blog to match the changing of the clocks because there is nothing like the changing of the clocks to add to me feeling a little bit "off". No it's not as bad "falling back" as it is "springing forward" but I have definitely felt my body asking for my morning coffee at 8.30am rather than my usual 9.30am.
Is it the clocks? Is it the seasonal change? Data does show that whatever change it is, there are very real consequences. A study by the Mayo Clinic revealed that during the winter months, countries with higher latitudes experience up to 10% of the population suffering with a type of depression known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
Those who experience SAD find that cooler temperatures and shorter days mark the beginning of what can be a very challenging season. Symptoms can include changes in mood. reduced energy levels, an increased need for sleep, social withdrawal and an increase in aches and pains in the body. Difficult tasks can be made more difficult by lack of energy and then compounded by mood disorders and interrupted sleep patterns and agitation.
Golly, it's depressing just writing about it! But there is good news. Research into how seasonal changes affect the mood has shown that regular massage treatment can improve mood and reset circadian rhythms which leads to improved sleep and more energy. In fact improvement can be seen from one treatment alone.
SAD is essentially a depressive disorder. A lot of research is taking place to study the impact of massage as relief for both anxiety and depression. During 2015, a controlled study of HIV positive adolescents found that those who received massage reported feeling less anxious and less depressed by the end of the 12 week study.
Massage is a scientifically proven way to help you relax, recalibrate and adjust to the seasonal changes.
So as the season continues to change perhaps embrace the change, book a massage and foster a sense of calm, cosiness and relaxation. I have got mine booked in!