By Quasha Ross
The fall and winter seasons can be difficult for some of us. It’s getting darker earlier, the holidays are coming up, we’re still in the middle of a pandemic, student loan payments have not yet been abolished, and yet we are still having to brave this thing called life. I know how hard it can be, so here’s what I’ve been doing to stay sane:
Natural Sunlight is Your Friend
Every morning, I open my blinds to let in natural sunlight. This instantly changes my mood in the morning, helping me feel awake and ready for the day. Studies show that the more exposure to sunlight we have, we produce more of the mood-enhancing chemical, serotonin. During the fall and winter months, when there is a reduction in sunlight, we are more susceptible to depression. I encourage you to take advantage of the daylight hours by going for a walk, sitting out on your balcony during the heat of the day, or sitting near an open window while reading your favorite book.
Another thing I do is meditate. I use a meditation app that walks me through breathing exercises and also helps me set my intentions for the day. Whether it’s meditating on giving yourself grace or setting boundaries, it’s a great way to make sure you’re checking in with yourself each day.
Check-in with Your Body
Now that I’m working from home, I’m able to relax my body when I need to. Sitting or standing for eight hours a day can take a toll on your body. Now that I have the freedom, I make it a priority to lie down for fifteen minutes. Once I do this, I immediately feel the tension leave my body. I set an alarm just in case I drift off. These fifteen minutes help rejuvenate me so that I can get through the rest of the workday.
Reach out to Family and Friends
I also make sure to keep in touch with family and friends. I live alone and I work from home, so I don’t get to interact with people every day. This prompts me to keep in touch with the people I love; just hearing their voices makes me happy and helps me pep up during the day. I’m not a phone person, but I make the effort to call those I love. I want to know that they’re doing ok and I want them to know I’m doing ok too.
Invest in scents and candles. Candles set the mood for me, and the different scents can change your mood for the better. Sometimes I have a candlelit dinner for one. Candles can really change the vibe of your living space, but please don’t fall asleep with them still lit. Be safe.
Overall, there are many things you can do to maintain your mental health during the fall and winter, these are just a few that I’ve been implementing in my own life. I hope you all are in good spirits during this time and that you’re checking in with yourself and making yourself happy with small or grand gestures.
Quasha Ross is a contributing writer for the Pedestal Project, LLC. She’s a creative writer who believes writing is a true art form. Find Quasha on Instagram @quashaross_