Long summer days seem to stretch on forever, but before we know it, the summer will draw to an end and the cold weather will start creeping back in. For some, the idea of frosty evenings, snow and the countdown to Christmas are really exciting- but many of us start struggling with our mental health at the turn of the season. Here are some of the reasons why, and what you can do about them.
When the weather is mild, most people get the itch to get out of the house; they want to do things, experience more from life. You might find yourself enjoying spontaneous days out, dinner in the park after work, hikes, bike rides or warm weekends in the garden tending your plants.
When it’s pelting with rain, windy and unpleasant we lose the luxury of enjoying these little moments and instead find ourselves cooped up indoors more to shelter against the elements. When our activities are limited it’s easy to become bored and restless, and while they’re not causes of depression themselves they can certainly make things worse.
You have more time to sit and dwell on things, fewer genuinely fun ways to distract yourself if you’re having a bad day. It’s something to be aware of as we move into the autumn and winter if you know that this is often a problem for you during the colder months then be prepared.
Perhaps you could organize a winter getaway, or plan some activities that can be done indoors. Nice meals out, museums and galleries, even some botanical gardens are indoors and can give you things to do when the weather is bad.
Because everyone is more inclined to do things when the weather is nice, it provides endless opportunities to socialize. A glass of wine in the pub garden with friends, picnics in the park, barbeques and garden parties.
There are festivals and events and generally lots going on. Again, bad weather forces people back to their homes, and it usually means you’ll be seeing less of the people in your life. When you’re having a bad day or your mental health is starting to spiral, having loved ones around you can often help you to keep your head above water.
They’re also able to spot any changes in your and encourage you to seek help- whether it be to get counseling, medication or look into more specialist options like TMS treatment. Make the effort to arrange to see friends even when the weather isn’t great.
Indoor activities like movie days can still be fun and can help to perk up your mood when you’re feeling low.
Less exposure to sunlight
Natural light and sunlight are mood boosters in humans, its why we tend to feel happier when the sun is out. Over the autumn and winter, the short days mean we don’t tend to get all that much natural light.
If you struggle with seasonal affective disorder you’ll be well aware of this, but it’s something that everyone can suffer with over a long, dark and cold winter. When you’re at work, try to get outside or at least close to a window during your lunch breaks during daylight hours, it might be just enough to keep your mood elevated.
If the weather isn’t too inclement, wrap up warm and go for a walk around outside. The exercise and light combined will give you a boost.