I am one of the mopiest people on earth during the darker, colder months. Truly, it’s a slippery slope. Though I am lucky to and committed to spending the majority of my time in warm, balmy places, I grew up in a forest-covered foggy town in Northern California. From a young age, I realized I’d need to be diligent in protecting my mental and emotional health in these seasons and climates. Here are my best tips as we deepen into fall:
- Spend More Time With Quality People. According to Harvard research, 36% of people in the U.S. are lonely. According to the National Institute on Aging, the health risks of prolonged isolation are equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day. WHAT!? Social isolation and loneliness have even been estimated to shorten a person's life span by as many as 15 years. Surrounding yourself with kind people you admire is truly the key to sustained happiness. Throughout this social isolation period, we took an already lonely civilization and made them lonelier. Don’t overlook this. Have at least two social commitments with these people per week and make an effort to interact with other humans in person as much as you can.
- Practice Daily Gratitude. Being grateful heals every dimension of self: the mind, the body, the emotions and the spirit. There’s so much to appreciate in your life. Make a list. Feel that list. Tell the people, places and things on that list that you are thankful for their very existence and notice how that shifts you. If gratitude feels like too much, just start by recognizing things that are simply nice around you. Start small, stay dedicated to it.
- Get Some Sun. 42% of people are vitamin D deficient. Hilarious when we literally have a free source of vitamin D right above our freakin' heads: the sun. Not so hilarious when you discover that being deficient in this vitamin leads to some serious feelings of sadness and fatigue. Sunning anyone? If you missed that blog, you might want to check it out. But even if you don’t, please know that getting in the sun is crucial to every part of your health. Even when the weather is cooling down, get outside in the sunlight for at least 15 sunscreen-less minutes per day. Yes, without sunscreen! This ensures you get your vitamins (and no, you won't get sunburned). Right before you put it on in the morning is a great time to do this.
- Move Your Body. I know, you’re sick of this one. I get it. I used to hate hearing that I’d have to move my body to feel good - especially when it feels like the last thing you want to do in your tired, lethargic state. Listen: it doesn’t have to be anything crazy. Dance in your bedroom, go on a little walk through your neighborhood in a nice park, run around with a pet, stretch before bed or when you wake up. Movement allows for endorphins (happy hormones to flow). Move it, groove it, improve it (your mood that is).
- Meditate. Meditation has been scientifically proven to kick your stress in the face and bring you back to a sense of cosmic belonging (among other things). Sometimes we just need a good sip of cosmic belonging and to give stress a fat kick in the face. Sit down, lie down, guide yourself, attend a class or find a meditation online and just be. As the wellness-world saying goes, you’re not a human-doing, you’re a human-being. Be still. Be silent. Just be. This is how we regulate.
This is self-care, my friends. This is important. If you struggle to take care of you, let me be your guide. I’m here to help you along your way.