With the kids going back to school and the days becoming shorter, it’s a reminder that the summer is officially over and winter is just around the corner. Many people feel sad or get seasonal depression because they attribute sunshine and nice weather to happier times. It’s true that our mental health is affected by the change of seasons, but there are ways to get through the transition of the seasons and convert that depression into productive and happier times.
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Many people think the fall is a sad season because they see the leaves from trees falling and they think they’re dying. The process of leaves changing is actually pretty interesting. Plants use sunlight to turn water and carbon dioxide into oxygen and glucose. Just like we do, plants use glucose as food for energy and to grow. The way plants turn water and carbon dioxide into oxygen and sugar is called photosynthesis, or putting together with light.
A chemical called chlorophyll helps make this happen, which is what also gives trees their green color. When fall comes, they don’t get enough light or water for photosynthesis, so they live off the food they stored during the summer. When the chlorophyll disappears from the leaves, this is when they fall off and when the glucose is trapped in the leaves after photosynthesis stops that’s when we begin to see gorgeous red, yellows and browns.
It’s important to understand why this happens to the trees. Just like they are affected by the lack of sunlight, so are we. But that doesn’t mean that they are dying, they are just taking some time off. The trees are just hibernating, preparing for winter and we should too.