Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Fall Blues?

Do You Love the Fall, or Do You Hate It?

We’ve all noticed it. The days are cooler, the leaves are turning, and its getting dark earlier every evening.
Some people, maybe 10-20% of us, start feeling blue as the days get shorter. If your symptoms are severe and get in the way of enjoying your life, you might want to consider speaking with a healthcare, or mental health professional to see if you have a seasonal depression.
However, if your symptoms are more mild and more of an annoyance than a worry, you might want to try a few of these things to see if they help you feel better.
§ Keep or start exercising. Walk outside in the sun if you can. Practices like yoga and Tai Chi can be helpful, too.
§ Put as much light in your life as you can. Open your blinds and your sunroof if you have one.
§ Sit by the window. Look outside. Pick something about the landscape in this season that you can appreciate.
§ Learn to meditate. Herbert Benson, M.D. wrote a book called The Relaxation Response. You can read it in an evening. It will tell you how to learn a simple meditation technique that is consistent with your personal beliefs and preferences.
§ Watch your alcohol intake. Alcohol and other drugs can cause you to feel momentarily better, but a lot worse in the long run.
§ Try limiting your TV watching. It will eat up your time and leave you with nothing rewarding.
§ Try to get enough sleep. Most people need 8 hours a night.
§ If you find yourself hungry or eating too much, plan to have good quality, satisfying snacks available that won’t set you up to gain too much weight. Some good choices are things like fruit, nuts, raw vegetables, whole grains, beans, soups, and oatmeal. Try to keep the fat and sugar down, though.
§ Learn something new. Look through the adult education pamphlet, or check out other opportunities to learn a new skill or refine an old one. Join up with a friend and teach each other something new.
§ Do things that have to be done anyway with other people and enjoy yourself doing them. For example, plan a meal preparation party. Family members and or friends can get together and fix some meals to freeze, or one to share.
§ Whatever you like to do, find ways to enjoy the season. People who like the outdoors can walk or hike. People who prefer indoor activities can do things like reading, playing games, telling stories, baking, doing needlework or woodworking.
As our evenings lengthen, there can be more opportunity to spend time with family and friends. Take advantage of it. Chances are you’ll feel better.