Autumn Days Don’t Need To Make You SAD!
“Autumn days when the grass is jewelled and the silk’s inside a chestnut shell” – We used to sing that song at first school and I loved it. It felt so happy and warm and full of joy and yet the weather was turning into anything but those things which even as a child had an affect on my mood. As the nights got longer and the days shorter, with sunlight hours dwindling, I found that I felt as grey as the evenings at times, and with no real reason or rhyme as to why. I remember as a child describing it as a sort of bored feeling, a tiredness with no way of making it go away through rest. It was just there. Not wildly awful and not truly debilitating but lingering unpleasantly a while.
When I got older I recognised the pattern and noted that as autumn moved into winter, with colder weather and even darker evenings, I would feel ever more that way. Then just like that, spring would arrive and my mood would lift – strange as I didn’t ever want to will the time away, but knowing more sunshine and daylight made me feel happier was certainly driving me towards that. I wanted to enjoy the winter so I knew I had to take it in hand and sort out what I was told was Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
SAD is very common, not always coupled with other forms of poor mental health and easily remedied with various strategies. For me a constant source of pointing my face sunward when it shone with meditative practices alongside exercise was a definite mood lifter.
I found picking up my endorphin levels and making a conscious effort to be mindful of what I needed – drinking enough water, not eating too badly and, as I mentioned, being outside when it was a bright day, worked wonders but I am one who hasn’t suffered terribly badly, I know. After chatting about my own moods with friends I discovered a lot of people felt similarly to me but also, a goodly portion found things far more tricky and needed a little more than self-remedy. Counselling has helped a couple of my very close ones and as I always say to anyone who may need to chat about their feelings, whatever they are, there is absolutely no shame in needing that.
If we feel under the weather we visit the Doctor for medication, if we break a bone we go to the hospital to have it set. We know what we have to do when we are poorly in any other walk so when it comes to mental health we absolutely should feel no differently and yet we often do. Especially when it’s something which isn’t there 100% of the time. Like SAD.
These days we are so lucky with on line resources at our disposal, making things which we may have found previously hard to reach out for a little more accessible – online counselling is something open to everyone and with affordability being a major factor making this option more inviting, as well as the ease of being able to feel brave enough from our own home setting, it is an incredibly important service we need to be accepting of when we need it. I know the triggers for me and I know what works but often we do need a bit of help building those life strategies and coping mechanisms. If for nothing else, at the end of the day, it’s always good to talk and it can never, ever do any harm.
So, if you feel yourself spiralling when the seasons change, if your wellbeing is dipping and changing and you know that things don’t feel right, when there is a pattern that sees the time of the year being a factor, then do act fast. You don’t have to suffer and can absolutely learn to live harmoniously within yourself, to teach yourself how to make the feelings of despair be far lighter than they would be if left alone. No one needs to feel alone in this either, winter is a time for huddling up and feeling cosy so allow that into your life and give yourself the chance to embrace every season for each one has such merit – this is the season for those silk chestnuts and jewelled grass and that is a beautiful sight to be enjoyed, not endured.