As the days get shorter, and we get less sunshine, the human body responds the only way it knows how. The levels of serotonin (the neurotransmitter responsible for our psychological mood) becomes significantly reduced, which can often lead to feelings of emptiness, tiredness, lethargy and downright grumpiness.
This is what is behind the phenomenon of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which some call Seasonal Autumn Depression. But it is not so bad if you know what you are facing. At least then, you can come up with some strategies to help you cope.
Let there be light
Artificial light and bright colours can help prolong the daylight hours. At night, you can use yellow lamps that will trick your brain into operating in “summer mode” and creating serotonin. In short, the more light, the better.
Pay attention to the colour scheme of your home décor. Use bright colours, for example, yellow, orange, green and blue. Don’t go to extremes of brightness, however. Keep to natural shades, as artificial colours can have the opposite effect.
Take time for your hobbies
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy! In order to keep yourself happy and sane, devote some time to doing what you enjoy. This will help your body release the right neurotransmitters that keep you in a positive frame of mind.
If you “don’t have time for hobbies” it’s time you started. Is there a project or cause you have always been interested in but never quite got around to pursuing? It could be taking up a sport, or something a little less arduous like photography. In fact, autumn, with its stunning colours, is the perfect time to get out there and unleash the professional photographer that hides within! Just make sure you have all the necessary equipment and a good stock of consumables, like a decent photo printer and the right Kodak printer ink.
When you stimulate your body with a workout in the gym or a brisk walk, your brain works better because of improved oxygenation and stimulation. This results in the release of endorphins or “joy hormones.” Just remember that any exercise should also be fun and enjoyable.
Get plenty of fresh air
When the days get shorter and the temperature drops, it is tempting to go into hibernation, particularly in this online age where we don’t actually need to venture out. Resist the temptation! Periodically let some fresh air into the house, as autumn air is filled with moisture, which is beneficial to the immune system and respiratory organs. Also, make yourself take a walk to the local park or just around the block. An hour of walking will have an amazing effect on quality of your sleep and your overall physical state.
Sometimes it’s OK to be sad
Finally, if you want to cry on the sofa, just go for it. Sometimes the best solution is to live through the melancholy and gloom rather than bottling it up. You’ll feel 100 times better for it the next day!
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.