Groans of dismay can be heard across Southern and Eastern Ontario, as summer-like temperatures that brought-record breaking heat to October come to an end.
As the clouds roll in and mercury plummets heading into Thanksgiving weekend, many are already predicting a shift in their mental well-being.
“When it is cold and wintry, we are more depressed and slow,” Massey told Global News Toronto on Thursday as she enjoyed the last bit of warm weather at the CF Shops on Don Mills.
“Everybody loves when the sun is out.”
To no surprise, the sun disappearing behind the clouds can certainly impact mental health, says a psychiatrist with CAMH.
But it’s the change in daylight, as opposed to temperature, that gets people the most.
“The amount of light (exposure) has the greater impact on mood and sleep. It stabilizes your internal body clock,” said Dr. Michael Mak.
“There is some evidence that shows that high temperatures, like above 30 degrees, can have a negative impact on mood and sleep. There is less evidence that cold can affect our mental health negatively.”
But that doesn’t mean cold is completely innocent when it comes to why we may feel under the weather heading into fall season.
The chair of Queen’s University’s Division of Infectious Diseases says colder air tends to be drier, especially during the winter months.
That dryness can negatively affect your mucosal lining, a cluster of cells with hair-like structures lining your nose and respiratory tract.
“It’s not going to function as effectively to remove particulate matter and other things that accumulate in the lung,” said Dr. Gerald Evans.
“And that can impact how tightly the cells stay together, which would then allow something like a virus or a bacteria to gain entry.”
Drier air can also help aerosols and droplets, which may be carrying viruses, travel further.
Although the driest of conditions are usually around January, Evans says it’s a good idea to stay ahead of possible viral infections as we approach Thanksgiving.
“I can’t overemphasize this. Wash your hands. Not just the person preparing the turkey dinner,” said Evans.
Gathering outdoors and keeping windows open are also good ideas, said Evans. Even turning on a humidifier indoors can help get moisture in the air back to a “sweet spot” for your mucosal lining.
As for making the transition of seasons smoother on your mental health this Thanksgiving, Mak says isolating yourself isn’t the way to go.
“I would emphasize the value of spending time with friends and family. Doing your best to go outside to expose yourself to whatever natural sunlight we are going to get.”
If it’s still a tad bit too gloomy, Mak says turning on all your indoor lights in the morning can help alleviate your mood.