Just the other night, I was getting ready for bed and decided that I would get up early the following morning to go for a run. When my alarm went off at 6:30 a.m., I opened my eyes to find that it was still completely dark outside. With a disappointed sigh, I muttered, "Summer is really over" and collapsed back onto the bed.
Technically summer has been over for quite a while, but as the days get shorter, the temperatures drops and you find yourself pulling scarves and sweaters out of your closet, the change of seasons may not only affect your plans and wardrobe but your personality as well. As Winter approaches, some people begin feeling depressed and find that they have a lack of energy. There are those who may attribute this change to the cold or stress of the holiday season, but for some people, they're suffering from something a bit more serious.
According to Helpguide.org, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) affects 1–2% of the population, mostly women and those who live at least 30 degrees north or south of the equator, where the weather changes the most in Fall and Winter. The change in daylight alters people's circadian rhythms, which can change someone who typically has a buoyant and cheerful personality into someone who is more subdued and moody. People who are typically the Tiggers of their group suddenly become the Eeyores.
SAD is not just about feeling…well, sad. This disorder can affect your personality in numerous ways. The world-renowned Mayo Clinic explains that those with SAD can experience "hypersensitivity to rejection." People who typically hear a "no" and take it in stride now may find it incredibly insulting and find that their feelings are truly hurt. The Mayo Clinic also points out that those individuals who would normally have a sociable personality will now have difficulty being friendly with others.
So what can those who suffer from SAD do? Drink mug after mug of hot chocolate and wait til spring? No, of course not. Professional psychologists and psychotherapists can help sufferers figure out coping strategies to stave off depression throughout the winter. While some look towards psychotherapy as a solution, others believe in the studies that have been performed using Light Therapy. With Light Therapy, those with SAD can help to normalize their circadian rhythms with using light boxes. Both are viable options that can try to help regulate personalities as much as possible.
On Game of Thrones, Ned Stark announces that "Winter is coming." With this in mind, keep an eye on any of your own personality changes — and if you do suffer through the cold seasons, remember that you're not alone.