While the looming approach of autumn is often a cause for joy for many people, it can also be the beginning of difficult times for others.
While there are many things to embrace, such as the vibrant colors of the leaves, the manageable temperatures, and the return of all things pumpkin and cinnamon flavored, it also means shorter days, and less sunlight.
In fact, it can often be the start of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which is a type of situational depression caused by many factors including lack of exposure to sunlight. It can cause mood swings, fatigue and lethargy and overall feelings of despair.
If you’re someone who is susceptible to experiencing SAD-like symptoms, it’s vital to ensure you’re taking self-care precautions as the autumn months approach.
Below is a list of autumn-inspired self-care techniques that can help you get through the season.
Light, Light, Light!
As previously stated, one of the causes of SAD is lack of exposure to sunlight. It can be difficult to get your time soaking up rays—especially if you work in an office at a traditional, 9-5 job.
In the fall, the sun begins to set earlier and rise later—meaning people working in an office rarely get to see it. This is why it’s extremely important to take advantage of any opportunities to do so.
Eat lunch outside, take your break in a room with plenty of windows—if it’s a particularly sunny day take a half day and get out and enjoy it.
Take Time for Yourself
As life continues to get busy, and we’re constantly scrambling to meet our deadlines, balance our extra-curricular activities, and spend time socializing, it can be difficult to fit in some time to just relax.
This is extra important during the fall months when the days get shorter and the temperatures start to drop.
Even if it’s just for 20 minutes per day, take some time to just relax, unwind, and destress—meditation and yoga are great ways to do this, but you can also delve into a book, veg out with some guilty-pleasure TV, take a nap, or sit and people watch—whatever it is, if it helps you relax then it’s working.
A great way to keep your mind active and engaged is to keep your body active. Physical activity releases a series of endorphins that make you feel better. However, chemical reaction aside, staying active and taking care of your body also provides other mood-elevating benefits.
Feeling good about your body is a great way to combat thoughts of sadness, or feelings of inadequacy—particularly for people who struggle with self-esteem issues.
Exercising can help combat those feelings by releasing endorphins as well as providing a sense of accomplishment that translates for feelings of self-acceptance.
Part of the reason many people forego exercise is because of the misconception that it must involve lifting weights, but that’s not the case.
If lifting weights isn’t for you there are tons of other forms of exercise you can take part in that can be both enjoyable and beneficial.