Fall festivals, homecomings, halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, and the list of events just goes on and on as summer ends. While fall and winter are traditionally times of family and friends celebrating togetherness, to many the demands are overwhelming. You may find yourself caught between thinking, "I should go, but I just want to go to bed" or "I'm just tired and have no energy." You may be more tearful and moody.
You are not alone.
As we move into fall and winter, the number of light hours decrease while dark hours increase. Many people find this time of year to be difficult. Decreased motivation and energy, feelings of increased depression, and the want to sleep and overeat are common. These are symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder, a seasonal depression that comes during low-light (fall/winter in the continental U.S.) times of the year. As we move through fall and into winter, here are some tips for keeping mood and motivation up:
1) Increase access to natural light through windows, spending time outside in the sun, and turning on extra lights in the evening during dinner or pre-bedtime "down-time".
2) Begin or maintain exercise programs. Research supports 150 minutes of exercise per week as first-line treatment for mild to moderate depression and anxiety.
3) Eat fresh fruits, vegetables, and proteins while limiting processed foods. Proper nutrition is vital to mental health.
4) Resist the urge to sleep more than 8-9 hours in a 24 hour period. Keeping naps to a minimum and obtaining 7-9 hours of sleep per night is ideal.
If symptoms persist or worsen, visit a professional for therapy and/or medication.
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