10 Tips to help you beat the autumn blues
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Joshua Miles MBACP Integrative Psychotherapist & Bereavement Counsellor
29th October, 20150 Comments
With the days growing shorter and there being less light, sunshine and warmth, it can be difficult to transition out of the summer months and settle into autumn and colder weather. In this period of time, we can often find ourselves feeling as though we have less energy, and more prone to feeling low or unmotivated. In this article, I aim to explore ways that you can beat the autumn blues, and once again find motivation and enjoyment despite the colder weather.
Get out during the day
Finding time to make the most out of the natural light can be an important tool in assisting you in adjusting to the change of season. Make sure you go out during the peak of the sunshine which is usually around midday or lunch time.
Exercise and eat well
Making time to keep physically active during the autumn months is very important, and will help you in feeling healthier, more energised and more active. Even though we may not feel like going out to exercise, it can make a huge difference to increasing levels of positivity.
Finding a good balance between eating the carbohydrates that we crave more in the colder months, with a good level of fresh fruit and vegetables will provide a good balance in diet. This will also go toward giving us more energy and provide our bodies with vitamins we crave particularly in the winter months.
Being more social
This may sound like an important tip for any time of the year, but it's especially true in the autumn months when being home in the warm may sound more appealing than going out to visit friends. Spending more time with loved ones, friends, family and pets really can assist with how we manage the transition into the colder months. It also allows us to be in control of how much we let the changing seasons affect us or disrupt our usual routine or interests. Doing something different to our usual routine can assist us to feel more outgoing and allow us to concentrate on the good things and people we have in our lives.
Caring for others whether it is volunteering a few hours of your time at a homeless shelter or just doing something extra for a friend or family member, can really improve mental health in the winter months. It is also key to keeping relationships going and can bring you closer together, adding a great deal of satisfaction to your mental health.
Be kinder to yourself
In the colder months in particular, when we can be more prone to being insular it is even more important that we take time to be kind to ourselves. Give time back to yourself to the things you enjoy doing with your spare time. Even if you are only able to find a short amount of time, this will still allow you to feel happier, more content and invigorated. It can be helpful to remind yourself that the low thoughts and mood you experience can be a result of the lack of light and sunshine, which your body needs.
Develop better sleeping patterns
It can be a common feeling to wake up more tired than usual in autumn and the winter months, and we all crave more sleep when the seasons change. The increased hours of darkness increase our levels of melatonin, which is a natural hormone, produced by our bodies. When the sun goes down and darkness occurs we produce more melatonin.
Often we can go against our bodies natural inclination to sleep by drinking coffee to wake ourselves up in the day or by eating larger portions of food in the evening which makes us sleepy. However, sticking to a more regular pattern of sleep, and ensuring we go to bed and wake up at the same time will assist us in transitioning into autumn.
Be goal orientated and challenge yourself
During the summer months, there is more positivity floating around, and it can be much easier to begin new things or explore new interests. In the colder months, we can tend to fall into a more comfortable routine. However, by setting yourself new and challenging goals you allow your mind to focus on new interests, instead of just that it is colder and there is less light! Even if your goal is to finally finish reading a book you got given for your birthday. Setting targets and sticking to them in the winter months will give you a fantastic sense of achievement.
Plan a short break
Booking a short break outside of where you live can really help in getting through the winter months as it not only gives you something to look forward to but it is also a new experience. It does not necessarily need to be somewhere warm; as just doing something different to your usual routine can make a bug difference.
Music, art and creativity
Listening to music we enjoy can really raise our mood and bring us back to ourselves, and help us re-engage with parts of ourselves we may feel we lost when summer ended. Being creative or taking part in art class or drama club can also go towards making us feel more alive, engaged and happy during times when the inclination is to feel grey or miserable like the weather.
Seeing a therapist
Being able to simply talk about your issues and worries with an qualified and experienced therapist can enable you to feel a tremendous sense of relief especially in times when you are more prone to feeling sad or low. A therapist will be able to help you work through your autumn and winter blues, and work with you to develop strategies to manage the transition of season. This support and guidance can allow you to live a life that feels more connected, real and meaningful in the winter months.
About the author
Joshua's an experienced integrative therapist with an individual approach. He's worked with people to understand the underlying reasons behind their low mood & assisted them in finding ways to manage low moods brought about during changing seasons. He's helped people become more connected to their thought processes & change patterns in their lives.
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