Being affected by the different seasons can be a paralyzing issue, driving one to hibernation, fatigue, and even into depression.
And it is not only summer going into winter that can be a problem, also winter coming to spring can be a difficult adjustment.
There are ways to deal with the switch, many of you have likely heard of light therapy. A light that mimic outdoor light, is considered causing a chemical change in the brain assisting to lift the mood and ease other symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
Research have shown that this works best together with other kind of therapy, such as counseling of some sort.
What further research also show is that this counseling, which often has the form of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), bears a close resemblance to aspects of mindfulness.
And furthermore, that this practice in itself can sometimes be enough.
As with many things there are gradients of severity of SAD, and a milder form called winter blues can be managed with practices aimed at changing patterns of thoughts and actions. Together with preparations for the seasonal change, seeing clearly what is happening in our change of lifestyle and behavior, we can make winter months a time for activities and responsive reflection.
Whether you suffer from SAD or just find the winter months a little more difficult than the rest of the year, there are ways to deal with it; from daily exercise to a daily practice of mindfulness, perhaps in some ways combined. If the word ”daily” makes you jump and sounds a little daunting, think of all the energy you will receive in the process. Just give it a try!
First of all pick something you really enjoy. Walks outdoors are a great way to start, you get the benefits of not only the exercise and the routine but also of being connected with nature. Walking through the changing seasons, observing the shifts in colors and sounds through the year, and following it’s nuances, connects and supports our circadian rhythm. This is one vital part of health, mental as well as physical.
Or perhaps you enjoy activities with others, be it soccer or dancing, just make sure it is something that gets you going and makes you want to continue.
And take up a practice of mindfulness. Sitting in silence daily, starting at five to ten minutes, will make a bigger difference than you ever thought possible. Connect to this a loving-kindness meditation. With the intention of letting all be as it is, without judgment of good or bad. Let the space for kindness grow, and you will start noticing an even greater shift of attitude.