While some people might enjoy cosy sweaters, cooler weather, and yellow leaves under their feet, not everyone likes autumn. In fact, many people experience autumn sadness. While spring is often associated with allergies, autumn is the season when people often feel lower in mood and this could be caused by something called SAD. Otherwise known as ‘Seasonal Affective Disorder‘ this mental health condition can be a real problem and it is no surprise that many people consider going to therapy during this time of the year. You can check this site to learn more about online therapy, but in the meanwhile, let’s look at ways in which you can improve your mental health yourself…
Get more sunlight
Given that one of the main reasons why people feel sad in fall is that days become shorter, make sure to get enough sunlight. Try to spend more time outside so that you can not only enjoy the sun but also take a breath of fresh air.
However, in autumn, the weather may not allow you to get a lot of sunlight outside so you may want to consider trying light therapy. A light therapy box can help you compensate for the lack of natural light. The brightness of lightboxes exceeds 10,000+ lux, which is 20 times brighter than regular lamps in your room. The treatment process implies spending 30 to 45 minutes in front of a lightbox, every day. A great thing about lightboxes is that they don’t emit UV light that can have a negative effect on your health.
However, light therapy isn’t for everyone. We recommend that you talk to your doctor before starting light therapy. People with some medical conditions, including certain eye diseases, should avoid light therapy or use lightboxes under their doctors’ supervision.
Usually, people are more active in summer. During fall, you may feel more sleepy and avoid physical activities. However, overpowering your sleepiness can be very beneficial for you. If the climate in your state isn’t too cold, autumn can be a great season for hiking and bike rides.
You may also hit the gym or start doing yoga. No matter what kinds of physical activities you like, regular exercising will help you stay energized and healthy.
Care for others
You don’t have to enter the social care sector to do this, you could just take the time to look after a friend. Caring for someone other than yourself not only makes you feel better, but it keeps your brain active even when you are not with that person. This could just be a friend or a family member, but focusing on others will nearly always make you feel good about yourself.
When people are no longer able to spend much time outside, they may end up staying at home all day long. Social isolation can contribute to the development of seasonal affective disorder because you may start to feel lonely, and this is what you should avoid to minimize the negative effects of autumn on your mental health.
Spending more time at home doesn’t necessarily mean social isolation. You can invite your friends to a party or you may visit them. You may also go for lunch together. Even if you’re not sure whether or not you should meet with your friends today, there’s nothing wrong with calling them and having small talk.
While you should feel free to enjoy any foods you like, even if they are bad for you, it is also important to get a good mix of nutrients and vitamins to keep the brain healthy. You can find many different foods that are good for your mental health and some of them might surprise you (like chocolate!).
It’s not just about the food, it is also about what you drink. When I tell you to drink well you will probably be thinking about alcohol, but other things we drink can also affect our mental health like coffee, energy drinks and tea. It’s a known fact that quitting caffeine will make you feel happier, but if having the odd Starbucks makes you feel good so should still enjoy it, just in moderation.
Nap When You Need it
Do you find yourself often feeling tired throughout the day? Then why not take an afternoon nap! It’s not about being lazy to enjoy a nap because they have been proven to lift your mood and make you feel more alert for the rest of the day! So if you need a cap-nap, you should feel free to purr like a kitten.
Try something new
Autumn is a great time to start something new. If you want to maintain good mental health, you will definitely benefit from a bit of self-actualization. If you always wanted to try drawing, dancing, playing music, skating, or anything else, September might be a good time to try this for the first time.
A new hobby will distract you from negative thoughts and help you associate autumn with the beginning of something new rather than the end of summer. Instead of being focused on the negative aspects of autumn, you can build associations with new positive experiences.
This doesn’t mean you have to talk about your feelings, just talking to people about anything has been shown to improve peoples wellbeing. We humans are a sociable breed so talking to others will make you feel more connected and part of the world, even if that just means talking about the weather.
Decorate your home with plants
When yellow leaves fall down and the grass is no longer green, you can still connect to nature at home if you purchase some indoor plants. Plants and flowers can help you reduce stress, and they will also improve the air quality at your house.
Besides, taking care of your favourite plants and watching them grow will help you take a break from negative thoughts.