Last Monday was the first official day of Fall. Luckily we have experienced higher temperatures lately and hours of sunshine throughout the day despite the season change. The noticeable differences as Fall has entered Ontario is the changing colours of leaves and setting of the sun earlier and earlier each day. For many people this can also coincide with the first signs of seasonal depression. Less light in the evening leads to staying in more, isolation, changes in eating, reduced activity and the creeping up of negative thinking. If you notice some of these things apply to you and you have noticed lower mood or an increase in irritability lately you are not alone. Read on for simple coping strategies.
There are some very simple things you can do to keep your mood up even when the sun goes down.
STAY ACTIVE! Start with a stretch, stand up, move around then work up to regular exercise. Aim for a 30 minutes a day of physical activity. Go for a walk, rake those leaves, take a fitness class with a friend or a bike ride. You do not have to do the same thing every day, or even 30 minutes at once. A 15 minute walk after lunch might be combined with a 15 minute bike ride after dinner.
SCHEDULE PLEASANT ACTIVITIES Remember all those things you used to enjoy doing? Painting, dancing, letter writing, photography, reading or whatever your interest may be if you schedule them in you are more likely to do them. Remind yourself that even though you are not motivated to do anything, you will feel better if you do something.
Spend time with PEOPLE. Phone a friend, go for a walk or a coffee. If you are unable to connect with a friend or family member try going to a place where you can people watch. Share meals with family if you can, this is one of the best things you can do for your kids mental health.
Try to see some LIGHT daily. Open your curtains in the morning, sit outside on your lunch break or look into a sun lamp for home or work. Your body needs some light and if we leave before the sun comes up and get home after it has gone down you may feel more tired, hopeless and irritable than if you had spend some time in the sunlight daily. You may also choose to speak to your Nurse Practitioner about other options.