As the days grow shorter and colder, many people struggle with the winter blues. Even though autumn and winter are filled with beauty and inspiration, they also can be challenging – especially for those who thrive in the sunnier seasons. The seasons have a notable impact on most of us, even if we don’t always realize it. Each season has its highs and lows, and each one is filled with valuable life lessons, but some seasons can be more difficult than others. If you find your mental health suffers in autumn and winter, here are some tips you might try to help make these seasons more enjoyable.
1. Venture outdoors
The lack of light and shorter days can make it tough to go outside, but if you’re feeling down, making the effort to spend time in the fresh air can really help. Even just a quick walk around the block can improve your mood.
2. Seek sunlight
Pull up the blinds! Open the curtains! The lack of sunlight is one of the reasons for feeling down during darker seasons, so the more sunshine you can allow into your home, the better. Going outside isn’t always an option, but take advantage of sunny days indoors by allowing the light in.
While I’ve personally never tried a light box, it’s on my wish list for this upcoming season because it seems like light boxes help a great deal for those with seasonal depression (or less serious cases of the winter blues). Apparently there are many different types (as well as something called a “dawn simulator” that’s used to wake you up in the morning) so be sure to do your research and figure out which one would be best for you.
3. Make some art
I know art isn’t everyone’s thing, but if you’re feeling down, give it a try. It doesn’t have to be traditional art either – try writing, pottery, drawing, painting, or sewing. Anything creative that allows you to get in a flow for a bit can help improve your mental state.
4. Practice yoga
Though I’m not particularly good at yoga (I generally do it only once a week), making even a little bit of time practice always makes me feel better, especially on extra gloomy days. If yoga isn’t your thing, any type of movement or exercise will be beneficial.
5. Make plans and stay connected
When I’m feeling down, the last thing I want to do is be around people. But I’ve discovered that it’s often what my mind needs when I’m feeling down. I don’t enjoy going out in the cold, but indoor activities can work, too (as long as you take proper precautions). If you can’t be physically with someone else, a quick phone call or video chat can also help when you’re battling the blues.
There are many options to explore if you’re struggling during the darker days, but hopefully some of these suggestions will help. If you find yourself suffering a great deal, it’s always good to seek out professional help (whether in the form of therapy or from your doctor). And if you’re struggling now, know that you’re not alone; it’s perfectly normal to experience down days during periods of change. Keep in mind that, even when it doesn’t seem like it, the difficult darkness will pass. Seasons always change, and the way you feel will change, too.