As fall arrives and the days grow shorter, like many people, you may feel a little letdown. Bidding adieu to summer’s lazier days makes nearly everyone a little blue.
If you suffer from seasonal depression, however, or if you find certain holidays triggering for any number of reasons, you may dread the change of seasons. However, with a bit of self-care, you can preserve your mental health as the weather cools. Here’s what to do.
Get Outside As Much as Possible
Research indicates that spending time in the outdoors alleviates depression and anxiety as effectively as medication in some cases. If you combine getting outdoors with the blood-pumping benefits of exercise like walking or hiking, you double the mental health boost — exercise releases endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Aim to get outdoors at least 20-30 minutes daily to improve your outlook.
If the weather proves too rainy or cold, invest in recordings of soothing nature sounds like rainfall or running water. Listening to natural sounds cause your brain to focus outwardly, creating a similar effect to getting outside. Sitting by a window or under the natural light of a skylight helps, too.
Embrace the Wheel of Change
The world is round, as are the stars. The seasons change in a cyclical cycle. When you meditate on the cyclical nature of the energy of the cosmos, you realize it allows everyone to return to the beginning and start anew.
Thus, as the leaves fall, the trees don’t perish forever. They simply rest from their growing pains so they can return in the spring to bloom in all their glory. Look to this time as a period of reflection, give in to lower energy levels and focus on your spiritual healing.
Throw Yourself into Fall Housecleaning
Think autumn house cleaning can’t boost your mood? Think again! When you check an item off your to-do list, you create a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction few things can match.
To pass on feeling overwhelmed by all there is to do, make a master checklist and assign one or two chores to each weekend. For example, tackle bedroom closets only one Saturday. Make three piles of clothing — those to hang for the cooler months, those to store until next summer and those to donate or sell.
Treat Yourself to a Little Retail Therapy
Fall means pumpkin spice and hoodies. It means you can treat your tootsies to that Himalayan gift from the gods known as Sherpa socks (I can’t get enough of these to warm my toes!).
Maxing out your credit cards can lead to regret but treating yourself to a little gift can boost your mood. Invest in a pair of to-die-for boots you can’t wait to rock to the office, or, if money is tight, simply a pumpkin to carve with the kiddos. Of course, you can’t go wrong with a new pair of snuggly PJs (with matching socks!).
Start Prepping for the Upcoming Holidays
Many people start counting down to the winter holidays way back in July. If you haven’t gotten on the bandwagon yet, prepping for the upcoming festivities can help improve your mood. Plus, buying gifts in advance spares you that last-minute rush.
Some people find the holidays triggering. Maybe it’s your first holiday season without a beloved, or maybe you simply lack the financial resources to visit family or buy gifts. If this is the case, treat yourself kindly. Let trusted friends know you’re struggling so they can offer support. Online support groups can help if you’re mourning the loss of someone you love.
Seek Help for Seasonal Affective Disorder
If you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), prepare in advance to protect your mental health. You can purchase at-home light therapy devices, for example, to help boost your mood when the days grow short. Antidepressants can help, as can talk therapy. Participating in mind-body exercises like meditative yoga can also help you manage SAD.
Journal About All You Love About the Season
Finally, harness the power of writing to celebrate all you love about the fall. For example, maybe you adore the smell of crisp leaves or taking weekend drives to watch the trees erupt into vibrant hues. Maybe you love nothing more than curling up under a cozy throw blanket with a hot cuppa and losing yourself in a good novel. Writing a list of all the things you love about the change of seasons serves as a constant reminder that autumn brings much to celebrate.
Bidding Adieu to Summer While Staying Mentally Healthy
If you feel left down as summer draws to a close, you’re not alone. But like all cyclical things, the warm season will come again. In the meantime, preserve your mental health by embracing the things you love about the change of seasons.
AUTHOR: KACEY BRADLEY
Kacey Bradley is the blogger behind The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Along with writing for her blog, she has written for sites like U.S. News, SUCCESS, Guides for Brides, Hotel Online and more!