How to Take Care of Your Mental Health During the Change in Seasons
The changing seasons can have a surprisingly large impact on your mental health. For most people, this is known as seasonal depression or seasonal affective disorder. These conditions typically occur in the fall and winter, when temperatures drop and the days become shorter. The lack of warmth and sunlight can decrease energy, morale, and motivation.
The tricky part about seasonally-induced mental health issues is that they typically come about gradually. You won’t realize how much you’re affected until you’re already deep in the hole. It’s important to stay on top of your mental health before and after changing seasons so that you never spiral too far. Here are some tips to keep your wellness a top priority year-round:
First, you should realize that seasonal depression and mental health issues don’t need to be tackled alone. If you keep your feelings bottled up or boxed away for too long, they can suddenly blow out of proportion. Getting assistance is nothing to be ashamed of but should be encouraged.
On that note, you should know the many resources at your disposal. Online mental health treatment is easily accessible regardless of your location. You can connect with communities and professionals that can lift you out of a cold weather slump in your time of need. Their expertise and experience can greatly benefit you now and in future seasons.
Other online resources include articles like this, instructional videos, and mental health kits found for sale over the internet. It’s worth looking into multiple options to find the best solution.
Sometimes the best way to keep yourself grounded throughout change is to latch on to as much consistency as possible. While you won’t be able to change the weather, you can take control of your actions. Sticking to a schedule is one way many people combat the effects of mental health changes during seasonal transitions.
When the sun sets, or it stays dark earlier in the morning, it’s easy to justify adjusting your schedule to move along with the dwindling sunlight. However, this isn’t always the best idea. Fewer hours in the day means you’re trying to fit your regular schedule into a smaller amount of time, which can be stressful. You’ll frequently cut out certain tasks and activities to do in the rest.
Try to stick to the same schedule in the winter that you did in the summer, with only the necessary adjustments. Wake up at the same time, go to the gym regularly, and plan your meals around the same schedule. This will help you maintain your internal body clock so it doesn’t get you feeling out of sorts.
There are plenty of wonderful products out there that can improve your life when seasonal changes leave you wanting more. As mentioned, cold temperatures and a dark ambiance can leave you feeling gloomy. Look into items that can alleviate both of those conditions.
Start with temperature regulation. The goal is to keep warm in the winter without always feeling like you’re about to enter hibernation. A smart thermostat can more effectively regulate the temperature in your home or office. That way, the cold doesn’t weigh on your mind as often. Slippers and a blanket can also keep you warm, but they might get you thinking more about nap time than productivity. It’s important to choose the right solution for your situation.
Artificial light is less commonly considered, but it’s equally an effective coping mechanism. Soft desk lamps can add extra light to your life on a particularly cold and dreary day. Some lights even imitate natural sunlight. Bright LED lights can be cost-effective, lowering your energy bill while raising your personal energy levels.
Your physical health is directly connected to your mental health. The more sedentary you are, the more easily you’ll be affected by environmental changes. When we suggest that you should go to the gym regularly, that’s not just for the sake of routine. Regular exercise is one of the best ways to improve your mental health, rain or shine.
While you might not always be able to tell at the moment, exercising releases important chemicals within your body, regulating everything from your mood and appetite to how well you can fall asleep. Serotonin — often called the “happy chemical” — is specifically released through exercise. This hormone can help combat depression and anxiety, which is especially beneficial when the weather has you feeling down.
These measures will help you no matter what season you feel down. Whether it’s winter, spring, summer, or fall, you should make your mental health a top priority. The sooner you take matters into your own hands, the sooner you can take control of your life and live it to the fullest.