By Liz Lampkin, Crosswalk.com
Each year, nature shows its beauty with the changing of the seasons. Tree leaves become grounded rainbows before they disappear, and the ground becomes blanketed with snow. The sun shines more and less, and everyone begins to adjust to the shift in the weather change. As seasons change, so can our moods, ultimately negatively affecting our daily lives. While each season may bring something to look forward to (holiday celebrations, vacations, birthdays, etc.), the shift and changes can be difficult for some to get through.
Seasonal depression can develop during certain times of the year for people, and they may find their moods shifting unexpectedly. Fatigue, consuming more comfort food, or having less energy are some things people who encounter seasonal depression may experience. As we approach a shift in seasons, we must be mindful of our bodies and our state of mind and be mindful of our emotional well-being to prepare ourselves to combat seasonal depression. If you believe you struggle with this, take a look at the list below of some things you can do now to prepare yourself for seasonal depression.
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/Paolo Cordoni
1. Take your "temperature."
If you are feeling anxious and uneasy or notice a shift in your mood, take some time to sit with yourself and figure out why. It is vital that you are self-aware and know what your needs are as the seasons change.
2. Start planning joy.
Find and plan activities for each season in advance that bring you joy. If you indulge in taking cooking classes in the summertime, find cooking classes in the fall and or winter. If you enjoy outdoor activities, find some for each season and take them on. You can find and plan joy in every change of season in your life. However, it's up to you to know what joy looks like for you in and out of every season change.
Related: 15-Day Guide to Finding Biblical Joy
3. Spend intentional time outside.
Go apple picking, take brisk walks in the park, take an outdoor yoga class, strike up the grill, make angels in the snow, make smores, and indulge in various outdoor festivals. Take some time to intentionally plan outdoor activities to engage in. When planning seasonal outdoor activities, make sure your focus is clear on what you want to do, how you want to feel while doing it, and how you want to feel afterward. While you can go outside at any time to get a breath of fresh air in an effort to combat seasonal depression, it's important to understand what you need mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually when you're spending time outside.
4. Create seasonal grateful jars.
There is always something to be grateful for, no matter what season we are in or out of. Take some time to create grateful jars! This is a fun way to be mindful of how good God has been to you throughout the seasons, and this will allow you to find something to smile about during the change of seasons. To start this, gather four jars and decorative items. Decorate your jars with items that symbolize each season, and label them. Once this is completed, make a schedule for reflecting and writing down things you are grateful for. Whether once a day or once a week, make sure you intentionally add to your seasonal jars of gratitude.
5. Plan healthy connections.
Connecting with those who are good for your soul is important for any time of the year. Take trips to see family and friends who make your heart smile. Make a phone call to laugh and catch up with familiar strangers. Plan a date with someone you miss, or go out and make new healthy connections. No matter how you do it, take some time to connect or reconnect with people who are good for your heart and soul to lift your spirits.
6. Take a soul trip to indulge in a different way to view a seasonal change.
A soul trip is an excursion one takes alone to refresh and replenish one's soul. It is a personal journey someone decides to embark upon to recapture their thoughts or center their emotions. Take a soul trip to marvel at snow-capped mountains or mountains of colorful leaves. Going somewhere where you've never gone before during each season to see how beautiful seasonal change can be can give you a different perspective on them. It can also fill your soul in unimaginable ways and lift your spirits.
7. Plan a healthy diet.
Meal prep is essential for a healthy lifestyle no matter the time of the year. Create a healthy meal plan that includes your favorite healthy food and comfort food. Eating healthy food on a regular basis is good for your body in more ways than one. While indulging in foods that are good for your body, it's also healthy to treat yourself to foods that nourish your soul. Eating is a part of life, and it's best to change eating habits to adjust to each season to boost and balance your mood.
8. Create a healthy sleep routine.
Sleep is one of the most underrated and undervalued blessings people experience. A healthy sleep routine can improve your mood in more ways than one. It also gives you the necessary energy to move forward each day with a clear mind and spirit. If you don't know where to start with creating a sleep routine, you can begin by transforming your sleep space into your personal comfort zone. You can also engage in calming activities before bed, read your favorite scriptures, or use other relaxation techniques. Whatever you decide to do, ensure it soothes your mind, body, and soul.
Exercising can positively help your mood. It can help you meet health goals, consciously and subconsciously, it can help your physique, and it can challenge you to create and meet new physical challenges. While many may believe that working out can be a bit daunting, it doesn't have to be. There are so many ways to add small routines of exercise into your daily routine that can bring about a change in your mood and your lifestyle as a whole.
10. Make your environment bright.
Light brightens spaces and lifts moods. During seasonal changes, make the spaces in your home brighter by opening shades/blinds or even replacing dim bulbs with brighter ones. You can also mix bright colors with popular seasonal colors. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you are intentional about making your space brighter to lift your mood no matter what season it is.
Changes in life happen around us every day, and it's important that we see the value in it. While the differences may shift our moods, we can get ahead of things and take action so we won't experience a downward spiral. Always be mindful of how you feel and how your feelings affect you. If you find yourself stuck in a mood that you can't seem to pull yourself out of, take some time to seek professional help at your earliest convenience. As the seasons change, so do the moments of your life. Make the best of each changing moment as much as you can. We can't avoid change; it's something we should all embrace. If you struggle with the notion of change, take some time to discover why so you can live life to the fullest and welcome change when it comes, no matter what form it comes in.