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Seasonal depression and emotional overeating.

Often the change of seasons, and more specifically the arrival of autumn, can bring feelings of melancholy and lethargy. This condition, known as seasonal depression, shares many characteristics with what we know as depression, with the difference being that it occurs periodically and in correlation with the change of seasons.

Summer with its long days, the sea, vacations, and more frequent walks is followed by September. It’s the time when we gradually make our plans for the new year. Schools, tutoring sessions, activities, hobbies, and new goals at work are the main topics of discussion. The intense heat, along with the carefree mood, begins to fade, giving way to days that are getting shorter and a series of obligations waiting to take their place in everyday life.

Especially characteristic is the phrase that is heard during this time, ‘Now every toad in its pond,’ which seems to foreshadow a future condemnation for the months ahead until the next summer.

Afternoons and Sundays start to feel increasingly ‘darker,’ and we look for more and more ways to relieve the growing anxiety and pressure of the new routine.

Solutions:

Even though the days are shorter, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the nights. Plan a gathering with friends at home where you can enjoy the cozy atmosphere together. Additionally, you can establish a movie night with old favorites or new ones according to pop culture.

Enjoy the sun by taking a walk even if you’re alone. Physical exercise will release endorphins that will give you a sense of revitalization and well-being that will accompany you throughout the day. It will also help clear your mind and absorb vitamin D.

Don’t stay alone. Talk to someone. The feeling of autumn melancholy is quite common. Call a friend, and if you don’t feel comfortable with that, seek help from a mental health professional. Seasonal depression, especially when frequent, may indicate something deeper.

Isabella Kontopoulou,

Mental Health Counselor, BSc, MA

Emotional overeating, or otherwise known as emotional binge eating, has an impact on a range of dietary behaviors and emotions. For example, the individual consumes uncontrollably excessive amounts of food in a short period or engages in constant snacking throughout the day. This behavior is addictive, but the person experiencing seasonal depression feels trapped and helpless in the face of any change.

This individual consistently thinks negatively about their weight and body shape, and after each binge episode, they feel ashamed to share with a third party the amount of food they consumed. The majority of their emotions are guilt, fear, sadness, and anxiety. They also feel that in this effort, they are alone and helpless.

Psychoeducation and cognitive-behavioral therapy are the most appropriate and effective methods for addressing binge eating episodes. It is crucial for the individual experiencing seasonal depression to understand the benefits of psychoeducation and to have faith in themselves and behavior change after therapy.
The individual can adopt a set of practices that will gradually lead to the elimination of these episodes.

Solutions:

Ensure that there is no unhealthy food in the house and in large quantities. Easy access to such foods makes it almost impossible for the individual to resist temptation. Easy access leads to overconsumption.

Use smaller plates. Gradually, you will find that the quantity you thought you needed is not really necessary.

Choose healthy foods. Salt, butter, and sugar have a strong impact on taste. Unprocessed foods, on the other hand, are more complete sources of nutrients, and addiction to them is almost impossible.

Before you eat, ask yourself if you are really hungry. Your body really needs food, or is it your own misconception. Balance in a healthy weight exists when we eat according to the needs of our body, not our mind.

Avoid consuming alcohol, beverages, and soft drinks with your meals.

Make sure you get enough sleep. Lack of sleep has been closely linked to binge eating episodes, as the individual tries to regain energy through food. In reality, what is needed is rest.

Start taking vitamins according to a dietitian’s prescription. The B complex, as well as vitamin D, are beneficial for depression.

Theodora Bombarda

Dietitian-Nutritionist, BSc, MSc”

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