When the leaves turn brown, air cools down, and the days become shorter do you notice any changes in your mood? If so, you are not alone. One thing I love about living in the South is the warm weather, but when I walked outside yesterday I was met by a sudden chill.
It finally felt like Fall.
It is believed millions of Americans experience the ‘winter blues’ as we enter the colder months; therefore, those living in parts of the country like Chicago, DC, the midwest, and New York may have already noticed changes in their sleep, energy level, mood, interests, appetite, and concentration as the season changed.
So, if you notice changes in your thoughts, mood, and behaviors in the fall with an increase in the winter this post is for you. I want to explore a few ways we can support our mental health if we find ourselves dealing with the ‘winter blues’.
Prioritize your mental health year round
When you’re feeling mentally well this is the perfect time to create a blueprint outlining your go to activities, coping skills, & support persons. Once created, keep this outline aka your self-care plan somewhere handy like your journal, nightstand, or office. Check it out throughout the year to hold yourself accountable and update. A month prior to the season change ramp up your care activities to counteract the upcoming changes to your mental health.
Remix your self-care activities
If any of your self-care activities are exclusive to being outside try to remix it. It may not feel exactly the same, and that’s okay. You’re working with what you have. For instance, if you love outdoor picnics, recreate the scene indoors with your basket, blanket, food, and drinks by a well lit window. Or if you enjoy trails, hiking, or other outdoor activities opt for rock climbing or an indoor track instead.
Diet & Nutrition
Colder months and the holidays are a breeding ground for hibernating indoors and indulging in comfort foods. I admit this is a difficult season to be overly healthy, so, I’m just here to point out that moving our bodies and eating nutritious meals can improve our mental health. If this is an area you struggle in show yourself some grace and consider incorporating some at home workouts or helpful food choices throughout the week.
Get professional help
Aside from the ‘winter blues’ some people experience a form of depression called seasonal affective disorder during climate changes; therefore, additional assistance may be needed. If you’re having a difficult time creating your self- care blueprint, incorporating helpful habits, or need assistance navigating your mental space a Licensed Mental Health Therapist can help. If you need a place to start check out my blog post Finding a Professional Friend aka Therapist here.
Some of my favorite directories are Therapy for Black Girls, Black Female Therapists, and Melanated Mental Health. Low cost and free therapy directories and resources are Open Path Collective, DRK Beauty Healing, and the Loveland Foundation.
So, as we get continue to indulge in our favorite pumpkin spiced drinks and are embraced by the upcoming holidays I want to encourage you to check in with yourself during this season and the next.
See you next time,
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