Do the shorter days, colder temperatures and pounding rain make you to want to shovel mashed potatoes in your mouth? Does your ability to focus plummet to the level of a four-month old puppy? Does your bed beckon to you as if it could speak?
You are not alone!
If you answered in the affirmative to these questions (I surely did), you may be amongst the many whose spirits plummet as the fall days get darker and shorter. Clinical speak for this is SAD (seasonal affective disorder). I like to refer to it using the more commonly accepted phrase of “feeling like shit.”
For many, this season sends our bodies and minds into a funk that no amount of warm soup, dazzling leaf colors and cozy fires can right. SAD can vary in severity from a severe depression lasting months, or a challenging state of decreased energy, increased appetite especially for carb and sugar packed foods, difficulty in concentrating and mood swings.
As someone who has learned to ride the wave of a mild degree of SAD for as long as I can remember, here are eight tools that I recommend for keeping the winter blues at bay:
Otherwise known as affirmations… My iPhone is programmed to send me a daily reminder that, “This too will pass.” The message speaks to the part of my brain that is convinced that I will feel this way forever. What message might resonate for you?
While I can’t say this is an easy thing to do, rather than fight against my internal response to Mother Nature’s changes, I try to reframe my relationship to this season by doing some of the things my body wants… slowing down, going to bed earlier, etc. What does a reframe look like for you?
Do Things That Bring You Pleasure
You are worth it, so think about some things that bring you pleasure, and make time to do them more frequently when you are feeling challenged in the winter months. What is something small you could do that would make a big impact?
Remind yourself that you are not alone. Reach out to your peeps for support. Who in your life makes you feel safe?
Regulate your nervous system and moods with regular massage, acupuncture or chiropractic care. I swear by safe touch by skilled practitioners. Do you have good referrals who are easy to schedule regularly with? If not, contact me, and I will send you some.
Give Your Brain and Body A Boost
Keep your brain and body sharp by exercising and nourishing yourself with foods like warm broths, proteins, and fats (I am obsessed with cashew butter right now).
Get Some Light On Your Bod
Head outside into the light, and soak in some of Mother Nature’s healing nutrients like vitamin D, which is known to help with depression and SAD.
If you have really tanked, and the symptoms you are feeling are interfering with your ability to function daily, consider gifting yourself the support of psychotherapy.
Never ever forget that you deserve to feel good all the time. However sometimes, it takes a little more time and more willpower to beat the blues when you are up against the strong force that is the change of the seasons.
Rather than isolate, find your herd and share resources around this common seasonal dip in mood and energy. I would love to know what helps you keep your mind, body and spirit up during the winter months.
P.S. Thanks for reading.