Here are some ways to manage your mental health this autumn:
Pick out the best parts: Although there may be parts about the upcoming months that you don’t enjoy, there may also be things you’re excited for, such as bonfire night or Halloween or simply being able to wear cozy socks and comfy sweaters. Identifying what you are looking forward to and focusing on those activities can help us to feel more positive about the change in season.
Back to basics: The summer months can be a hectic time with traveling, increased responsibilities and a packed calendar of social events. The autumn time can be a perfect opportunity to wind down and focus on the basics that embody good health and wellbeing including sleep, food and exercise. You may have more time on your hands which you can use whichever way benefits you. Whether it’s cooking a new nutritious recipe or getting back into a book series you like, or simply taking more time to be in the present and relax.
Exercise: We may feel less inclined to want to get out and be active when it’s colder outside, but exercise in any form can help boost our mood and give us more energy. It’s easy to feel lethargic when we spend excess time inside, so whether it’s a brisk lunchtime walk or joining a local exercise class there are ways to keep us moving and energized, whatever the weather.
Set up a routine. If you find you’re spending more time indoors or at home, it’s possible that we can fall out of routine and feel unproductive. Try to stick to a routine to continue the rituals or activities you may have enjoyed in the summer, such as morning walks or seeing a friend on a set day. This helps us to maintain a sense of familiarity, keeping us active and improving focus too.
Stay connected to others. We may feel that we’re seeing less of our friends and family when the days are shorter. That’s why keeping in touch with loved ones is important, to increase social connectedness and combat loneliness. You don’t have to just stay indoors to socialize either, there are a whole host of outdoor events to attend during autumn time, such as local craft fairs and fireworks displays. Plus, with the landscape becoming colorful with beautiful shades of orange and yellow, there are plenty of opportunities for walking and hiking.
If you feel you’re struggling or are worried about someone you care about, The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in the United States. You can call or text 988 at any time.