Erin Grahn MA LPCC LAC
Updated: Apr 14, 2018
Fall brings cooler weather, sweaters, and pumpkin spice lattes. It also is a season that signals us that winter is fast approaching with the green leaves changing to burnt oranges and bright yellows.
You may notice a change in your mood with a change in the season, particularly when those of us in the northern hemisphere have our daylight hours shortened. If you engage in your normal activities during daytime hours then you likely are rising before the sun comes up and, as winter continues to approach, will also notice heading home from work in the dark. For those of you whose activities occur during the nighttime hours you might not experience the same effects.
Some of us are more sensitive to the change in the seasons and change in sunlight exposure. If you are one of those ‘lucky’ individuals then the challenge is to find ways to manage the change in your energy level and/or mood in a manner that doesn’t set you up for failure. Some easy tips to assist you while still engaging in self-care are:
Rather than increasing your consumption of the ever-addicting caffeine beverage of your choice, try limiting your caffeine intake or skipping it all together. Caffeine sets us up to have spikes in energy and then crash and burn. Alternative ways to refuel your energy tank include waking up an extra 15 minutes early and going for a walk or exercising at home, set aside time for breakfast (the nutritious stuff, not the delicious carb heavy stuff), take time to read or engage in a hobby, make a goal to start the day by doing the dishes or completing a small chore around your home.
Set a consistent wake time and bed time. Our bodies function better when we keep a routine.
Try a light therapy box. It is recommended that a light therapy box provide at least 10,000 lux of light, have little UV light (I can’t imagine that anyone would want to age their skin faster), and be used within the first hour of waking for up to 20-30 minutes. And of course, don’t stare directly at the light! It is recommended that you consult with a doctor before trying this, especially if you are coping with Bipolar Disorder.
Give these tips a try and if you find yourself still having difficulty managing the summertime blues then consider talking to your doctor about medications, trying counseling, or solicit support from alternative therapies such as acupuncture or naturopathic care.
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