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The air is cooling, and the leaves are changing. It is a beautiful time of year. It can also be indicative of a difficult time to come for many, as winter is coming. As we pull out our coats and heaters to prepare for the cold weather, we can also take steps to prepare mentally for a notoriously hard part of the year for many.
Seasonal Affective disorder is a clinical disorder that is marked by a depressed mood specifically during the months when there is less light, and more people stay indoors. It can impact our mood, appetite, and energy levels. Even if you do not have SAD, you may still feel the effects of the colder season. It is possible to experience social withdrawal, oversleep, and have difficulty concentrating.
Below I have listed several actions you can take so you can be ready for the coming months.
Find the light: There is evidence that lack of light impacts mood during the winter, so find healthy ways to get more sunlight during the day with early walks, specific lighting to help in your room, and opening your curtains.
Adjust your sleep: Wake up earlier to spend more time awake during daylight hours and make the most of the time you have available to you.
Treat yourself: Plan events you can look forward to during and after the winter season, invest more time in your current or new hobbies, make your favorite family recipe, or spend time with friends.
Care for your body: People are shown to move less around the wintertime for various reasons and feel less motivated to move their bodies. You may have to get creative. Find an online exercise class, or add stretching your body to your morning or evening routine. You can also find out about seasonal foods in your area and make eating healthy interesting.
Build a toolkit: Find relaxation activities you enjoy, like meditation or yoga. Create a happy mood playlist. Plan a staycation with some relaxing activities at home. Create a routine and stick with it. Plan game and movie marathon nights. Take longer breaks from technology and social media.
Spend time with others: Identify your support team. These may be the people you call to hang out with or vent to one another. It is easier than ever with technology to stay connected in a way you like. Find local events you can attend in your community related to holidays you celebrate or interests you have.