Taking care of your mental state is important all year round, of course, but when the weather starts getting colder, some of us either neglect our mental health or forget to deal with it, especially with the pressure of holidays, or seasonal conditions. Working on yourself is a perfectly legitimate way to spend your time, it just takes giving yourself the time to deal with it. Here are five ideas for taking care of your mental health during the fall.
Find a Routine and Stick with It
The actual set-up of a routine can be a little difficult if you’re already deep into the hardest parts of seasonal depression or in the middle of some huge responsibilities, but taking the time to breathe and prioritize a routine will make all of those other things a little more bearable. You might start your routine off with a more regular wake-up time and a type of breakfast, or a hot drink. Your day can be broken up into more manageable chunks, as well, and nighttime relaxation can be dictated by this new routine with a nice shower and making your bedtime consistent. Small changes that you can stick to shouldn’t overwhelm you.
You need sunlight for vitamin D, and with the cold, we go out less, even though you can still get plenty of vitamin D if you go outside during the cold months. The sun is still there, after all. Whether you’re making time for exercise – even simple exercise like a walk – getting some fresh air and vitamin D will pick up your mood, and you’ll get a little cardio in, at the same time.
Knowing ourselves better, including why and how we think the way we think, is a great step toward feeling better, overall. Meditation is a way of silencing the parts of our mind that cause us the greatest trouble or focusing only on them so they can be addressed. It is often treated as an exercise to “clear the mind,” but for some people meditation involves the cacophony of thoughts that they are there to work on. There’s no wrong way to meditate, as long as you get some relaxation and self-reflection out of it.
Eat Brain Food
Yes, there are foods that are great for your brain, and most of them are already part of a balanced diet, and many are delicious – here’s your excuse to eat well! Food with lots of omega-3s like fish are great for your brain, as are nuts, avocados, leafy green, fresh fruit, and beans. There are tons of seasonal foods that fall into these categories, too.
Self-care is also something that can be interpreted loosely, but really it’s anything that allows you to feel better, relax, and decompress. It might be watching a little TV and snacking, napping, or going for a run – whatever it is, it’s your time to concentrate on yourself and how you feel, without feeling guilty about it.