Combatting Seasonal Mood Changes

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Anyone else out there have trouble adjusting to fall?

Brett told me the other day Fall is his favorite season. I told him it’s not my least favorite (I’m looking at you winter), but it’s always hard for me to transition away from warm weather and lots of Vitamin D and coat-free outdoor strolls.

Sluggishness and days of hazy depression come with the Fall/Winter for me. Especially the days when I work from home. The more I’ve opened up with other women about my seasonal struggles, I’ve noticed I’m not the only one.

In light of seasons changing, pumpkins getting carved, and depression cycles trying to creep in, I thought I’d share with you a few ways I try to combat rainy day sluggishness and lethargic mornings where I linger too long in bed (resulting in discouraging days and lots of self-frustration and negative “I’m a failure” talk):

  1. Wake up when I go to the bathroom in the morning or right when my alarm goes off (The only way for me to get out of bed is to put my alarm clock on loud on my dresser or in another room so I HAVE to get up to turn it off… have you seen my husband? He’s so cute and I’d gladly stay in bed and snuggle with him too long, but that really throws off my willingness to want to get out of bed— snuggles are for night time!). Once I’m up, I don’t let myself get back into bed. If I get back into bed, I’ll be there an hour or two longer, I’ll be on my phone comparing my life to others on Instagram, I’ll feel like I wasted an hour or two of my day and get mad at myself, then I’ll stay there longer upset at myself and not feeling confident I can spend the rest of my day well or confidently… and sometimes that leads to Netflix binging (which officially leads to zero productivity and feeling like a sucky person).

  2. Having an Out of Sight Out of Mind mentality with my phone. Keeping my phone in my purse instead of right next to me is a sure way for me to think about it less. Sometimes I go hours without looking at it. Especially in the morning, if my alarm can be something other than my phone, it’s WAY easier for me to get up, do some positive self-talk, consider what my goals and values are for the day, get ready for the day, and it even allows me to have some undistracted time to read, journal, or write in the mornings.

  3. Take time to look professional and get to work on time. Okay, I know I just told you I work from home, but this idea of getting out of the house, driving or biking somewhere and showing up to “work” on time looking the real deal—- it’s really helpful. In the fall/winter I put more of my business budget toward coffee. Showing up to a coffee shop at 8AM keeps me on task, ready to get stuff done, and keeps me from avoiding work (I’m one of those people who sometimes avoids work if it’s hard or I don’t understand it). BY FAR, having a routine that has me “showing up” for work, is really helpful. Even when I can’t afford to go to a coffee shop, I come up with a routine that makes me feel like I had to show up on time.

  4. Keep outdoor walks shuffled into our routine (as long as the weather permits). Getting out of a building, taking time to walk and see the season changing. Sometimes I need these to connect with Brett. Sometimes I need these walks to connect with myself.

  5. In the past, continuing to work out or have a workout goal has been SUPER helpful for my mental state. Sometimes the winter is the best time for me to workout at a gym because I really don’t want to be outside. Preparing to walk/run a half marathon with my sister was one of the best ways I was able to get myself out of bed to the gym. Or I’d hit the gym up after work. Either way, it was really helpful to have a routine and to have something I was working toward. Having a workout partner has been really helpful in the past as well. I’m currently not in a workout routine (like I want to be), but with seasonal mood swings coming up I’m staring down November and December, considering how I can be refreshed at the gym.

  6. Embracing creative time, letting go of Netflix. Painting, creating tumeric latte recipes, writing songs, playing solitaire or Phase 10, reading books. For me, Netflix binging never leads to any positive feelings. I don’t feel more connected to myself, my husband or God when I’ve binged the day away. I feel like I’ve been living some other characters’ life.

  7. No naps. Some people need these. I am not one of those people. My brain is too “on” to fall asleep. If I tried to take a nap, I’d be too tempted to stay in bed too long and for all the wrong reasons. Getting plenty of sleep at night is all I need to have a productive day without a nap. I do take time to stop doing work and eat lunch. This typically includes a 20 minute episode of something on Netflix or I grab lunch with a friend. Something that’s not work-related. But like I said, I can’t let that one Netflix episode turn into 2-3. Can Netflix add a timer so society will stop binging? Probably not. They probably want us to binge. Thanks, Netflix.

  8. Doing seasonal things… like going to this pumpkin patch on a Sunday when we were both really busy with work— we stopped for an hour to do something rejuvenating and fun. And it was fun. We snapped pictures of our favorite pumpkins contributed to this pumpkin trail by our local community.