We’re nearing the end of November, and I’m beginning to notice a change in my mood. I’m more tired, more irritable, and less happy. At this point in my life, I’m aware of the pattern that begins in early fall and continues through the middle of spring and the reason behind it; my mood is significantly affected by the weather. If it were up to me, I would hibernate until the warmer weather returns, but since I can’t, here is how I’ve learned to manage my mood in the fall and winter.
Take Supplements: I take vitamin D supplements to replace the vitamin D I am not receiving in the fall and winter due to the shorter days and lack of exposure to sunlight. Always speak with your doctor before adding any supplements to your diet. He or she may be able to run tests that will determine whether you have a vitamin D deficiency in the first place.
Exercise: Even though it is very hard to go to the gym when I don’t have the extra motivation of bathing suit season, I still force myself to go in the fall and winter because it benefits my mental health. If you’re struggling with losing motivation for the gym during the winter months, consider asking a friend to be your “gym buddy” to hold you accountable, or start taking some exercise classes. If you’re anything like me, the friendly competition of working out with other people will motivate you to push yourself. Also, having a set time to be at the gym for a class is easy to schedule in your day.
Stay Social: Like I said, if I could hibernate through the colder months, I would. However, I know that staying home wrapped up in a cozy blanket with my dogs will leave me feeling depressed because I am isolated. Make an effort to do something social with friends or family at least once a week. It doesn’t always have to involve leaving your house; cooking dinner with your friends or watching a movie together are still great ways to socialize.
Plan a Vacation: If you can afford it and have the time, traveling somewhere warm during the winter months can re-energize you. I went to Mexico in March and it was just the pick me up I needed to get me through the last few dismal weeks of early spring.
Continue Seeing My Counselor: I see a counselor regularly to process emotions and situations that come up in my life. Knowing I have someone supportive to talk to when I start to feel irritable, withdrawn, or sad is a great comfort.
If you are interested in beginning to work with a counselor who can help you manage your mood throughout the colder months, contact The Light Program today.