Recently I read this excellent article about why some people get depressed in autumn: the end of summer (with its sunny warm days and relaxed schedule) and winter looming (with darkness and cold) can increase anxiety.
The long lazy days of summer are behind us, schools are back in session, and work is starting to pick up speed. The holiday season is on the horizon. It’s time to buckle down for the back-to-busy season, which can be a bit of a downer after the fun and sun of summer.
The article has some excellent strategies for helping to combat autumnal blues:
- Use a “happy lamp” to help with Seasonal Affective Disorder
- Keep up healthy habits like exercise and nutrition
- Stay social and make a point of getting out to see people
Now while the days are getting shorter, be proactive and create positive habits to see you successfully through the colder season.
Here are some ways you can use your planner to help you create strategies to keep up your mood and productivity levels during the autumn transition into winter:
Create new routines: Avoid getting stuck in a rut by trying new things. Take on a new hobby, join a group or club, go to a museum or park you’ve never been to before. Fit these activities into your schedule by taking on enough that you feel engaged but not so much that you’re overextended.
Keep going outside: Don’t let the weather leave you stuck indoors. Take scenic drives, hike some trails, and even go to the beach. It will be a different experience than it is in the summertime, with a different kind of beauty. Spending time outside, even in the cold, will help you feel refreshed and renewed. Make plans during the weekends to get outside, and at least once or twice a week schedule a mid day walk to take advantage of the brightest time of the day.
Schedule social time: Make time to meet friends for coffee or lunch each week. Schedule weekend plans and evenings out. It’s tempting to ensconce yourself at home when the weather’s bad, but you’ll feel better if you get out and make real face-to-face connections regularly.
Make plans to look forward to: Even though summer vacation is over, you can still make fun plans to look forward to, which will increase morale as the days get shorter and colder. Plan a weekend away, research trips to take for spring break, or even plan next summer’s vacation early.
Healthy habits: Use your planner to help you plan healthy meals and exercise.
Plan your meals every week; look at your schedule and plan to cook meals on evenings you have more time. Cook on the weekends and freeze meals, or make enough extra during the week to have leftovers on evenings you won’t have time to cook. Schedule grocery shopping before your fridge is bare so you won’t be tempted to fill the gap with a quick fast-food dinner.
Schedule in time for exercise during a time of day when you know you will be able to accomplish it. Exercise before work, go for a walk during your lunch break, or stop at the gym on your way home.
What are some ways you like to keep up your mood and productivity as winter approaches?