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Mental Health
FIVE WAYS TO LOOK AFTER YOUR MENTAL HEALTH DURING AUTUMN
 
21st September 17
 

Autumn really is a lovely time of year. The colours, the warm jumpers and cosy knits, the chance to add yet another coat to my ever growing collection and the feeling of things starting to get a little more festive. The change of season is always something which I find to be refreshing. A fresh start and a chance to take on new goals and refocus. For so many of us, Autumn is a wonderful time of year, but alongside the festivities, it can be a tough period. September marks the start of colder months and shorter days and this is something which can be difficult for a lot of people.

 

I know very well myself that this time of year can cause significant dips in our mental health. The term for this is more widely known as seasonal affective disorder and this is a form of depression which is triggered by the seasons. Sufferers most often experience their highs during the warmer, summer months, before SAD starts to rear its head again in Autumn. SAD can be managed and there are many ways to do so, so, I thought I’d put together a little list of the best tricks that I’ve found to look after yourself and your mind and still enjoy the wonderful season that is Autumn.

 

Look for the light (literally)
When talking about mental illness, one of my favourite sayings to keep in mind is to carry on looking for the light. Usually when I think about this, it’s a metaphorical thing, but when it comes to looking after your mental health in Autumn this works literally too! Autumn is the season where the sky starts to get darker a lot earlier, meaning less sunlight and less Vitamin D reaching us. Be sure to get outside each day, if only for 5 minutes, to let your skin soak up some of that goodness. If this isn’t doable for you, sitting in front of artificial light from a light box can actually help to emulate this too and is proven to make us feel happier!

 

Stroll through the leaves
One of the most beautiful things about Autumn to me is the leaves on the trees changing colour and coating the floor with their auburn glow. Not only is a walk outdoors beautiful, it’s also proven that excersise can ease symptoms of depression and make you feel happier. So wrap up warm in your favourite scarf and bobble hat and drag one of your nearest and dearest on an adventure. You’ll feel happier for it, and you’ll probably get some good Instagram pics too!

 

Soups & Spiced Lattes
Autumn themed food and drink are quite possible the best things ever. Don’t get me wrong, I love a BBQ during summer and a (veggie) roast at Christmas, but pumpkin spiced lattes (yes, I’m that basic girl that you know and love) and vegetable soups with bread and butter are just my favourite. Autumn offers comfort food at its finest and luckily for us, comfort food is exactly what’s needed when it comes to managing your mental health. Making sure to stick to a good diet is a really great way of making sure that your mind is fuelled and that you have some routine in your life, both of which make it easier to tackle the low days.

 

Keep your friends close
For an introverted person like me, this is easier said than done, but having people around you during Autumn and the colder months can really help to keep your mental health on track! Whether you’re getting together for a cosy movie night with a duvet on the sofa and plenty of snacks, pumpkin carving or just catching up on the phone, friends and family members will help to keep your mood up. Remember, hibernating during these months can feel like the best option, but connecting with other people every now and then is worth it, I promise.

 

Work on you
As I mentioned earlier, Autumn for me is the perfect time to have a bit of a fresh start. The drastic change in the seasons always feels like a marker point in the year for me, so it’s a perfect time to realign yourself and even take on a new hobby or interest! Having something new and interesting to occupy your mind with during Autumn will do wonders for your mental health. Personally, I’ve made a pact with myself that I’m going to try to put a lot more focus into enhancing my photography skills over the next few months. By the time Christmas comes around, I’ll be a flat lay pro – just watch!

 
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