Seasonal affective disorder is a condition many are familiar with. A lack of exposure to the sun caused by shortened days after the winter equinox can trigger a mild, depression-like condition. This last until spring, when the sun sticks around for four to six additional hours each day. Marla Ahlgrimm notes that these “winter blues” are not the only way winter can affect a woman’s emotions.
Researchers at Indiana University found in a 2015 lab study that aggressive behaviors were more common in women during the winter. It’s believed that shorter days affect sex hormones and melatonin, which can make the fairer sex a little less fair until well after New Year, says Marla Ahlgrimm.
While there’s nothing you can do about the way the weather affects your hormones, you can take steps to waylay aggression and enjoy your holidays.
Marla Ahlgrimm first suggests getting ample amounts of sleep. As the days grow shorter, the body produces melatonin in higher volumes and at an earlier hour. Melatonin is responsible for sleep and, as we tend to fight going to bed before 9 PM, not getting enough shut eye can make us cranky since our bodies don’t have time to process its melatonin.
Eating the right foods and being amply hydrated is also important to mood, explains Marla Ahlgrimm. Hunger is known to trigger short tempers, especially for women in the high-hormone point of their menstrual cycle. The popular slang term “hangry” is a play on the words hungry and angry and clearly illustrates that hunger-related moodiness is well accepted among people of all ages.
Finally, Marla Ahlgrimm suggest spending time alone. A few hours once a week can go a long way toward improving overall mood. And though the holidays are a time of togetherness, a bad mood can ruin Christmas morning.