After a beautiful, bright and hot summer, it can be difficult to adapt to autumn’s rain, cooler weather and grey sky. Leaving work with little daylight left can be difficult on our energy and motivation levels. Many people begin to feel run-down, tired and a bit moody this time of year, sound familiar?
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) impacts many people around the fall and into the winter months; people who suffer from SAD find themselves more sluggish, moody, irritable, less interested in leisure activities, exhausted and suffering from poor sleep. For cases where the person’s functioning is seriously disrupted, medication may be needed to help improve mood and energy levels but for those who do not need or want to seek out medication for this disorder, simple behavioural activation techniques can be helpful.
Although your energy is low and you don’t feel like exercising, it’s a must. Go for a 20 minute walk, each day, even though you don’t feel like it! This will help to increase your energy level and will fight off those feelings of fatigue and sluggishness. Plan a new activity for the most difficult months. This could be a new social or recreational activity such as joining an art class or joining a bowling league. Being active is the key! Most people, when they feel this way, want to stay inside, nap, watch TV or engage in activities that involve little effort and energy but this only maintains and can even worsen symptoms.
When you do engage in an activity, reward yourself! Finish your day with a hot bath, or have a hot chocolate with your loved ones…or do both…whatever reward works for you! Don’t get stuck in a rut, be proactive now before the snow hits!