18 Dec Impacted by Seasonal Anxiety? – How to Protect Your Relationship

Trudy Jacobsen | Counselling Australia

The change of the season can be very pleasant, especially with the holidays right around the corner.

However, when you suffer from seasonal anxiety, it can be very difficult. Instead of enjoying the turn of the season, you may feel overwhelmed or withdrawn from your usual activities or socialization routines.

Worse yet, you may feel like your seasonal anxiety is affecting your relationship negatively.

Fortunately, there are ways to not only combat your seasonal anxiety but also make strides towards protecting your relationship.

What Is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a mood disorder that affects people specifically when seasons change. Though most often associated with occurring in the winter, SAD can affect people in any season.

Symptoms of SAD include:

  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Loss of energy
  • Lack of interest in activities, hobbies, or socializing
  • Changes in appetite and/or diet
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness

Symptoms of SAD are like symptoms of both anxiety and depression. However, SAD can be tricky because it often occurs specifically due to a change in season or weather.

Typically, you’ll overcome SAD as the season ends. That may take a long time, though. But you don’t have to wait around for the season to end to combat your anxiety.

Coping with Seasonal Anxiety

Seasonal anxiety can cause tension in your life for several reasons. On the one hand, it will make your personal life much more difficult. You may struggle doing things that were once part of your basic routine.

For example, you may feel a lack of concentration and focus, making it hard to do work. Or you may feel a loss of motivation to exercise or participate in your typical hobbies. You may feel most comfortable simply staying inside and keeping to yourself.

There isn’t an issue with becoming a little more reserved, but long-term, it could have negative effects on both you and your relationship.

Seasonal Anxiety and Your Relationship

Your partner may be more affected than anyone else by your seasonal anxiety. Because SAD can onset quickly, it may come as a shock to them.

Suddenly, activities that you used to regularly participate in no longer interest you. Perhaps you don’t feel like going out to dinner or doing anything with your partner—and this can take a toll.

Hopefully, your partner will be supportive and understanding of what you’re going through. However, that doesn’t mean it will be easy for them to cope with sudden changes in your behaviour. The situation truly calls for patience and understanding—all-around.

Pinpointing Ways to Improve

No one is expecting you to be able to just “snap out” of your SAD or anxiety. It simply doesn’t work that way. However, there are ways that we can consciously recognize and change certain behaviours.

Consider what exactly has you feeling anxious. Is it the weather? The impending holidays? Or do you just feel anxious for no reason?

Whatever the case, you can still make an effort to change your own behaviour. For example, if you’ve been feeling like staying in often, try to take your partner out to dinner. Attempt to be engaged in activities you once enjoyed—whether it’s sports, cooking, painting, etc.

A conscious effort goes a long way when it comes to depression, for both you and your partner.

Protecting Yourself and Your Relationship

If seasonal anxiety has you feeling worried, nervous, distressed, or just simply not like yourself, don’t be afraid to seek out professional help. You don’t have to try to figure it out on your own. A therapist can help guide you through your specific feelings and give you the tools to improve.

With your effort, the support of your partner, and the guidance of a skilled therapist, seasonal anxiety doesn’t have to keep you from enjoying your life and your relationship. Please, contact me on (07) 3282 5453 so I can help you to start feeling like yourself again.