With the night’s drawing in, the air getting chilly and the trees starting to show their glorious amber colours, it can only mean one thing – autumn is here. The change in seasons can be hard for many of us, not to mention the increase in both physical and mental illnesses. We need to take care of ourselves even more during this time, so we’ve pulled together a list of advice that can keep your mental health and general wellness boosted this autumn.
Eat the Right Foods
Eating the right foods during autumn can boost your immune system which prevents you from getting ill. Foods that are high in vitamin C such as oranges, broccoli and kiwi fruits provide you with a sufficient amount of the vitamin. Some studies have also shown that a healthy, balanced diet can improve your mental health with some omega 3 rich foods even reducing depression which can be common during the shorter days.
Takeaway: Eat a healthy, balanced diet in the lead-up to autumn and through winter to beat depression and protect your immune system.
Get Regular Exercise
It’s proven that aerobic exercises including jogging, swimming, cycling and walking have been proven to reduce anxiety and depression. This is due to exercise-induced blood circulation to the brain which reduces stress. In autumn, it can be difficult to keep up the motivation to stay fit when cosy nights on the sofa seem much more appealing. However, it’s recommended that even taking a brisk walk for at least 20 minutes a day for five or more days a week can improve your mental health in the long and short term plus you can reduce the risk of getting ill throughout the colder months.
Also Read: 4 Simple Tips to Reduce Anxiety
Takeaway: Although it’s difficult to keep up your exercise routine during darker nights, even taking a 20-minute walk every day can improve your mental health.
Find a Psychotherapist
No matter how well you eat or how much exercise you do, sometimes the best thing that you can do for your mental health is find a psychotherapist. Psychotherapy has been shown to reduce anxiety in people and can help them in dealing with specific issues in their life which may be harder to work through alone, especially with the changing seasons. Many people experience a slump in mood and life stresses become more apparent and harder to ignore compared to the carefree and relaxed months of summer. Speaking to an experienced professional to support you through your thoughts and feelings can have an incredibly positive impact on your mental health.
Takeaway: Talking to a psychotherapist can help you work through your thoughts and feelings and provide you with resources to handle your stress and anxiety throughout autumn and winter.
Although being outside may be the last thing on your to-do list when it starts getting colder, evidence suggests that exposure to natural environments can be associated with many mental health benefits including:
- Reduced stress – rhythmic exercise has a calming effect on the mind and body
- Improves concentration and focus – research has shown that looking at nature improves our ability to restore concentration to be able to focus for longer
- Improves mood – exercise outdoors can be as effective as antidepressants for mild depression!
- Improves sleep – going for a walk outside during the afternoon or early evening can help you relax and improve the quality of your sleep which has a positive effect on mental health
- Increases vitamin D – vitamin D is essential for healthy bones and a strong immune system and a lack of vitamin D has been shown to cause low mood and worry. Getting out in the autumn sunshine can help you get your daily dose!
Takeaway: Fresh air and nature can give you the boost you need during the colder months, it can also improve other areas which can benefit mental health too.
Listen to Your Body
Whilst it’s important to take care of yourself all year round by exercising and eating healthy, it’s also super important to listen to what your mind and body need. The darker nights and colder days can be hard to manage for many of us, and if it helps to stay in and watch a movie marathon on the sofa while eating your favourite treats, it’s also important that you allow yourself to do that without feeling guilty!
Also Read: How Does Hypnosis Stop Smoking?
Takeaway: Embrace your needs throughout autumn to help you get through the colder months. A duvet day or a slice of cake can be just as important for your mental health as exercise and healthy food if it’s what your mind and body need.