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Mental health has become a mainstream issue that more and more guys are speaking out about — and this is a good thing. It has taken us generations to get to this point, as many men were basically taught to bottle up their emotions and deal with internal struggle without voicing his concerns. Thankfully, this has led to an increase in guys talking to one another, with counselors and generally speaking up.

While that’s all good, there are still plenty of issues that guys deal with on the daily that they just can’t control. One of those things happens to be seasonal depression, as spring and summer fades into fall and winter, which means shorter days, more isolation indoors and reliance on himself for entertainment. Point blank: a man needs to know his likes, dislikes, hobbies and be self-assured as to how he wants to spend his time during the changing seasons.

Season depression might have just been a phrase people tossed out as a way to joke about being lazy during those colder and darker days in the fall and winter, but, trust us, it’s not so taboo to think the changing seasons really does impact how you feel about yourself. In fact, according to a Bustle article, experts have confirmed there is a link between the changing of the seasons and a decline in your mood.

Per the Bustle piece, Seasonal Affective Disorder (known as SAD) — which means your mood is affected by the changing seasons — is a serious concern. In fact, the NHS website describes this type of feeling as “”a type of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern.”

More telling is a 2014 study from the Weather Channel and YouGov, which found that one in three people (27 percent of the population) in Britain suffer from SAD, with women being 50 percent more likely to report suffering from the disorder than men.

But why is seasonal depression so common? According to the Bustle article, who spoke with Dr. Norman E. Rosenthal, a researcher, psychiatrist and was part of a team that wrote the book Transcendence, it’s pretty simple.

“People with winter difficulties often experience low energy levels, less enthusiasm and optimism, and difficulty concentrating and getting things done when the days get shorter and dark, and this can last all the way through till the spring.”

In essence, the lack of sunshine and vitamin D can lead to lots of sitting around wasting time, trying to figure out how the added “hibernation” time indoors can be entertaining. This can be a shock to the system after being outdoors for the previous five-to-six months.

For those wondering if there’s a way to fight seasonal depression, you’re in luck, because there certainly is.

First, find a hobby that can keep your mind stimulated and your body moving. This can be something as simple as playing video games to reading a book, or, naturally, finding a good show on Netflix and chilling by yourself (or a friend) to watch. Second, it’s important to find a good routine each day. Sure, there are some things that will come up and throw a wrench in those plans, but, for the most part, if you’re getting up at the same time each day and finishing with a workout around the same time, you’ll be happier. Lastly, speak up! This might not be an exact solution to how you’re feeling, but practicing positive mental health means talking with friends and family more regularly in order to avoid lonesomeness and the feeling of isolation.

As we close out the summer and head into the fall, understand that some seasonal depression is normal to creep into your mind. However, accept the fact that it’s typical and do what you can to get your mental health strong so not to fall into a rut and become a hermit for the next five months.

If you’re ever feeling so down that you’re afraid of hurting yourself or someone else because of depression, remember to reach out to a professional or therapist.

(H/T Bustle)

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