The cold, the early sunset and a lack of vitamin D can mess with your mental health. Here’s how the pros cope.

The clocks “falling back” signify the arrival of dropping temperatures and darker days. And while some people look forward to the wintry weather, the change in seasons can negatively affect those with seasonal depression.

This mental health disorder is widely known as seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, and occurs when “depression gets triggered by a change in seasons, primarily beginning in the fall through winter months,” said Melissa Dowd, a therapist and therapy lead for virtual health platform PlushCare.

People with winter depression experience symptoms such as withdrawing from social events, changes in appetite and oversleeping, along with the issues associated with major depression.

While there could be a host of reasons people experience the disorder, Dowd said research indicates that colder weather, decreased daylight and shorter days can trigger SAD symptoms. Shorter days are believed to mess with your circadian rhythm — that is, your biological clock that regulates your sleep-wake cycle.

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