The effects of seasonal changes on our mental health can be profound. Many changes accompany the shifting seasons: the length of daylight; the intensity of the sunlight; our diet; our routine; how and where we spend our time.
As late fall turns to winter, it’s common for people to feel tired, unmotivated, and depleted. Anxiety can increase, too, because these changes can create a vague, unsettled feeling. Also, symptoms of depression can begin or increase. There’s a specific disorder called seasonal affective disorder (SAD) that is directly tied to seasonal change.
The following tips can help enhance mental health through the changing seasons:
- Create a new routine that helps you enjoy things despite the early darkness (reading, board games, crafts, puzzles, etc.)
- Work in movement throughout the day (brief walks, stretches, climbing stairs, etc.) to keep your energy level constant
- Stock up on a variety of favorite teas or coffees, depending on your personal caffeine tolerance
- Be mindful of what you eat, for diet affects mental health
- Identify what you love about the season, and be intentional about incorporating that into your life.
- Get natural light or invest in a SAD light
- Take Vitamin D daily or a high potency Multi-Vitamin
- Consider medication
- Seek counseling for support