How to beat the autumn blues: 10 tips from a psychologist
A gloomy autumn like this year's adds to all the troubles by making you feel more depressed due to the lack of heat and sunlight. The gray sky and monotonous pounding of rain outside the window do not help to create a good mood. Psychologists advise to be especially attentive to your condition and take care of your mental well-being during the fall off-season.
Psychotherapist Joshua Miles has formulated 10 rules for the publication Counseling Directory on how to support yourself and beat the autumn blues. Here are his tips. You can use them all at the same time.
Go outside during the day
Many people are familiar with the situation: when you go to work, it's still night, and when you leave work, it's already night. And this creates the illusion of a general gloom in the world. That's why it's important to find an opportunity to go outside at least for a short time during daylight hours. It's important that this break for a short walk occurs during the peak of sunlight, which is noon and lunchtime.
Exercise and eat well
Physical activity helps us feel healthier, more energetic, and more active. That's why sometimes you need to drag yourself out of your skin to work out. It may not be pleasant to crawl out from under a warm blanket in the cold of autumn, but the reward for these efforts in the form of a much better mood is worth it.
And having the strength and desire to be physically active is directly related to good nutrition. In the colder months, we want more carbohydrates, but we still have to balance their consumption with vegetables and fruits. So try to find a balance, and then you will not only get the energy you need, but also the necessary vitamins and minerals.
Be more socially active
Let's get back to the warm blanket. In the fall, we are ready to cheat on even our closest friends with it. Meanwhile, your friends may have a good movie and a pleasant conversation in addition to a blanket. That's why the psychologist advises spending more time with loved ones, family, and even pets in the fall.
It also allows us to control how much we let the change of seasons affect us or disrupt our usual routine or interests. Try something new together and you will feel more sociable and optimistic. The feeling of loneliness will immediately recede.
Anything you can do to help someone close to you or even a stranger can improve your mental health during the cold months. It can be anything from washing dishes to large volunteer projects. Choose something you can do. It also brings people closer together and has great mental health benefits.
Be kinder to yourself
Even if your desire to stay home is stronger than any advice, you can still do something good for your mental health. Just spend time doing something you enjoy in your leisure time. This will allow you to feel more energized, happy, and satisfied with your life.
Improve your sleep patterns
During the darker half of the year, it's natural to wake up a little less alert. It's all down to the lack of light. And the fact that due to the early onset of night, our bodies start producing melatonin earlier, which means that we are already sleepy around lunchtime. Often we fight this with large portions of coffee or compensate for the feeling of being awake by overeating, most often in the evening, which interferes with a normal night's rest. Setting up a clear sleep schedule helps to cope with this. Go to bed and wake up at the same time and set aside the hours you need to sleep.
Set goals for yourself
The feeling of triumph from achieving a goal that is important to you is incomparable. The brain is literally bathed in joy hormones. Take advantage of this and start setting goals and moving towards them methodically. It doesn't have to be something complicated; on the contrary, a perfectly achievable task will do for a start. For example, finish the book you were given for your birthday. This will increase the number of positive emotions in your life.
Plan a short vacation
Even a short-term change of scenery can refresh your senses and give you vivid emotions. So allow yourself a vacation away from home. Of course, it would be nice to go somewhere far away for a week or two, but going away for a weekend visit is also a great idea. Allow yourself to break out of your routine and, as they say, feel the difference.
Music, art and creativity
Music is the most affordable way to improve your mood. Just turn on your favorite summer track and you'll feel like you're on the beach under the warm sun for a few minutes. It's a passive enjoyment of art that you can afford almost anytime. Or you can engage in creativity actively by signing up for a master class or joining a theater group. This increases the feeling of involvement, belonging, and happiness. Any method will do, and you can combine them.
Visit a therapist
Talking to friends is a good way to talk through your problems, but working on them with a professional will help you get rid of them faster and improve your quality of life. A therapist can help you cope with the fall and winter blues, and work with you to develop strategies for living through the change of seasons. So, fall is a great opportunity to try it if you've been wanting to for a long time but haven't dared.
As OBOZREVATEL wrote, it's important to take care of your mental state, if only because scientists have found that bad emotions and heavy thoughts can worsen physical health even more than bad habits.