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It’s fall and when the weather starts to change here in the PNW, I notice a few people around me commenting about the feeling of melancholy.
While SAD (seasonal affective disorder) doesn’t affect everyone (especially you Virgo/Libras whose birthdays are coming up) other people are affected, and find themselves eating more bad food and carrying around a deepening sense of gloom.
So how does this happen to us? Is there some brain reaction to the change in weather? I did a little digging...
A little brain backstory…there are two parts to the autonomic nervous system, which work together to control bodily functions. The sympathetic system stimulates body processes, while the parasympathetic system inhibits them.
According to George Wilson of the University of Tasmania in Hobart, SAD could be a "programmed reaction to shorter daylight hours in winter."
Before an animal hibernates, their parasympathetic system works to decrease body processes like temperature and metabolic rate. A colleague of Wilson - Margaret Austen - looked at SAD in humans, and found a similar response.
"Animals prepare for winter by fattening up and then sleeping though it," says Austen. 'In humans that is not practical." Instead of hibernating, we #CreativeGenius humans gain weight and move less in winter - it's part of a natural adaptive mechanism that conserves precious energy.
This watered-down form of hibernation is part of our genetic encoding, and it’s natural to feel its affects, so why not embrace it? Sleep deprivation is becoming a bigger and bigger problem in society, so why not use this natural process to nudge you in the direction of more naps?
Here’s a few hibernation to dos:
Get ready to get some sleep! Make some new pillows or find a deal on new sheets for your bed – if you are going to sleep more, make sure it’s comfy cozy! Then organize a “sleep in” date with yourself to get more than the usual shuteye. Woohoo!
Refresh your winter stores with quick, healthy, satisfying options. Make it easy for yourself to resist the temptation to order more Domino's!
Germinate some of those good ideas. When visiting a friend who is working on a new book, he mentioned he was going to put it away for the winter and look at it in the spring. This might seem illogical to some people, but sleeping on your ideas can give you excellent insight!
Why not embrace the fall? Go pick up leaves and press them into books, or use them to decorate a space in your house. Pick out some pumpkins and litter your porch with them. Light some candles, pull out your warmest, most snuggly blankets and prepare your space for that long winter’s nap. You earned it #creativegenius!
*SIDENOTE: Have some extra blankets, coats, towels or canned food you need to clear out? Skip the trash can and donate them to a shelter! Both human and animal shelters need just this kind of thing in the Fall. Have a Google around to find your closest drop-off point. Everyone deserves to be warm and well-fed this winter.