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Looking After Your Mental Health Now The Days Are Getting Shorter



Looking After Your Mental Health Now The Days Are Getting Shorter

For so many of us, September marks the start of the new school year and the end of the summer. Whether we have children or not, if we live in England or Wales, the beginning of September will forever mean new pencil cases and school shoes that are slightly too big (we all grew into them by Christmas, right?) 

September also means that the weather is getting chillier and the days are getting noticeably shorter. For some of us, this doesn’t just mark the beginning of months of wearing tights again. It’s more serious and we begin to develop Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), or we generally begin to feel blue at the loss of the freedom of summer.

Add in the fact that we’re living through a viral pandemic this year and that back to school feeling is worsened by having been living under lockdown measures, and we can expect more of us to feel mentally challenged this autumn.

So here’s a few ways that you can help to support your mental health as the season turns and the nights draw in.

  • Maximising the time you spend in natural light can boost your mental health. Daylight triggers the release of a hormone called serotonin that helps to make us feel happier. Serotonin also helps to make us feel more calm, more focussed and better able to deal with stress. This can make us feel more productive, which in itself is a mood booster. Sitting near a window where possible, getting outside at lunch time and walking some or all of the way to work or school all expose us to more natural daylight.
  • If you or your child are feeling anxious about returning to the office or school, try to focus on how good it will feel to take back a little control and have some stability and normality. Things will feel different for a while, but celebrating the small things such as socialising with school and work friends can help change our mindset from a negative one to a positive one.
  • Practicing mindfulness really can be a great help. It allows us to take time out to be more present and in the here and now whilst focussing on our breathing that helps to restore calm. Regular yoga practice also has the same effect, so try some of our yoga routines that cater for all experience levels.
  • Plan things that you enjoy for the weekend so that you have something to look forward to. This could be a drive to the countryside, a walk in the woods, pottering around some local shops or meeting friends for lunch. Having something to focus on can make us happier and feel less blue at the thought of a long, cold winter.
  • Enjoy all that the colder months have to offer! Those woolly tights really aren’t that bad and if we’re fans of smooth, hair free legs and fake tan, they cover us up when we haven’t had the time to de-fuzz and bronze up. Embrace the upcoming celebrations such as Hallowe’en, bonfire night and (dare we say it), Christmas. However socially distant they might have to be, try to find reasons to enjoy the cosiness that cold evenings and crisp winter mornings can bring.

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