Are you letting SAD be your excuse?
Some people are not able to fall in love in with Autumn. SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is a very real form of depression, where for some individuals, come the change of seasons, experience some or all of these symptoms as listed by the NHS.
a persistent low mood
a loss of pleasure or interest in normal everyday activities
feelings of despair, guilt and worthlessness
feeling lethargic (lacking in energy) and sleepy during the day
sleeping for longer than normal and finding it hard to get up in the morning
craving carbohydrates and gaining weight
For some SAD can have a severe effect on their daily activities. In the most part, many people say they have SAD because the season has changed. It’s the pattern of the past where it’s become an unconscious routine to feel down because it’s getting darker and cooler. Add to this family, friends and work colleagues might be feeling low and then you do too.
But what about those darker nights and mornings, wanting to feel snuggly, craving the mashed potatoes over salad? Today, tomorrow and everyday we wake up with choices and we can break those old beliefs and patterns of thought and behaviour at this time of year. Let me inspire you in ways you can start to enjoy the Autumn/ Winter season ahead.
We know Autumn officially starts at the Autumn Equinox on Sunday 23 September 02:54 and the clocks fall back Sunday 27 October 01:00. We can’t change this fact and like many other things external to us that we can’t change, it creates uncertainty. A way to regain a central place of control is through acceptance. In accepting this is the season you are able to let go of resisting it. You change from a place of ‘fighting’ to ‘embracing’ the changes that are coming.
This is a season when our senses come alive. The Autumn season is part of natures cycle of protection against the cold winter. It’s a season of preparation which gifts us a stunning display of colours as the leaves turn; the sun lowers in the skies sharing beautiful sunrises and sunsets. Take any walk near a horse chestnut tree and you’ll see an array of shiny smooth conkers. Pick one up, hold it, touch it. For that moment you are not on your phone, not thinking about Christmas, not thinking about the washing and ironing; you’re thinking about when was the last time you stopped and picked up a conker. Maybe you’ll go back to your childhood days, bringing back the sense of freedom and play that is always inside of you?
What else could you notice? Breathing in the crisper air in the morning before you get in the car or on the train.
Definitely make plans for Autumn and Winter. It’s easier to tell yourself you want to stay at home on the sofa with a blanket and eat biscuits or with a glass of wine. In Spring and Summer what would you have done? Met with friends, gone to the exercise class, power walked or gone for a run? You can still do it now. Make plans with friends, your partner for a date night, a family early evening walk, a games night; or do something different like a workshop or course, something to create good and happy memories.
Fall in Love
To fall in love with this season is like reminding yourself what you love about your life. Why stop doing what you love in summer just because the season has changed. If you loved reading books in summer in the garden, love reading books in your favourite chair, or in bed. If you loved eating lighter meals in summer, have some lighter meals in Autumn too. The key is to remember what it is you actually do love and then make sure you are allowing them into this season too.
Nature Teaches Us
Nature certainly does teach us a lot when we open our awareness, especially in Autumn when we can visually see the changes all around us. Nature prepares so it can adapt, rest and be ready for the Spring and Summer. Use this time to nurture yourself, allow space to enjoy this season. Break the beliefs and turn down the “I only see darkness when I wake up and come home.”
Make plans get outside at the weekend, make memories, laugh, play, rest and relax. You’ll soon fall in love with this season’s natural gifts.
Ask everyone in your home or your team at work to take part.
Get a jar or container
Ask everyone to write down one thing they loved about Autumn each day on a piece of paper.
Each piece of paper goes in the container.
On 1 November open up the container and make a list of all the words.
You can even ask everyone to write down their favourite top 10.
You can then either print this list out or write in on a chalk board at home or just remind yourself when you are feeling low what it is you love about this season.
Alternatively, you and also create a photo board of what you love about Autumn too!
Join Emma in the Your belifehappy Facebook Group and share your daily words and pictures too.
In November join the belifehappy LIVE session where we will go through the challenge supporting you fall in love with Autumn.
Emma Lannigan is a wellbeing NLP coach and Reiki Master Teacher and author of belifehappy: give, play, love, learn. If you are concerned about your persistent low mood or of someone you know, talk to someone and make an appointment to visit a GP. Here is information from the Mental Health Foundation https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/a-to-z/s/seasonal-affective-disorder-sad with links to the SAD Association.
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