For many people, the long, cold nights of winter can wreak havoc on our mental health. As the days get shorter and the nights get longer, it can begin to feel as though we are living in a perpetual state of darkness but there is a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel - Winter Solstice is near.

The colder days and longer nights definitely have an impact on a lot of people and their mental health. In fact, the National Institute of Mental Health says that symptoms of Seasonal Affected Disorder, or SAD can last four to five months out of the year.

Many people feel "down" or have the "winter blues" when the days get shorter in the fall and winter and feel better in the spring when longer daylight hours return.

Sometimes, these mood changes are more serious and can affect how a person feels, thinks, and behaves. If you have noticed significant changes in your mood and behavior when the seasons change, you may be experiencing seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

In most cases, SAD symptoms start in the late fall or early winter and go away during the spring and summer, known as winter-pattern SAD or winter depression.

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For now, the days are continuing to get shorter and the nights longer, but in just a few weeks, the daylight will begin to take the hours back. The Winter Solstice, or first official day of winter, marks the point in the year that the days begin to get longer and it happens on December 21, 2023. This will bring the longest night of the entire year, according to the Farmers Almanac, and then slowly, day by day, the nights will gradually get shorter and the sun will set a little later.

Winter solstice is the astronomical moment when the Sun reaches the Tropic of Capricorn, we have our shortest day and longest night of the year in the Northern Hemisphere in terms of daylight. Regardless of what the weather is doing outside your window, the solstice marks the official start of winter.

If you're struggling with the long nights, just hang in there, friend! The long, dark winter nights won't last forever and soon the days will begin to get longer. We'll make it through.

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Gallery Credit: Kat Mykals

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