The change of seasons – how it can affect those with disability or illness
The change of season from autumn to winter can throw up new challenges for those with disabilities or illness. The cold weather can exacerbate pain, make circulatory problems worse, you become more susceptible to illness as many viruses do the rounds. There can be the added challenge of getting out and about in bad weather. Snow may look pretty but it can leave many people with disabilities and illness isolated even further. There is the possibility of being snowed in and the stress of not knowing how your care needs will be met. You may become more withdrawn and chose to stay in more than usual over this period. This can impact on your mental health as you become socially isolated.
For some, the shorter days and darker nights may lead to feelings of depression or low mood. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can be described as a depression which comes and goes with the seasons. Those affected by it may feel fine during the spring and summer. The worst months if you are affected by SAD are December through to February. Those experiencing SAD may be able to identify a pattern in how they feel.
Signs and symptoms of SAD may include:
- A low mood or depression.
- Feeling irritable.
- Lacking energy and feeling lethargic.
- Sleeping more.
- A loss of interest or pleasure in the activities you partake in.
- Increased cravings for comfort food.
- Gaining weight.
Online counselling can help if you are living with a disability or illness and feel isolated at this time of year. If you think you are experiencing symptoms of SAD or feel low at this time of year help is available. You can access counselling from the comfort of your own home at a time that suits you. You do not have to face these feelings alone.