Towards the end of last September I wrote a post entitled Battening down the hatches. In it, I explained how I dread the coming of this time of year:
[As] the days get shorter so does my temper…. my productivity and motivation goes down at the same rate as the thermometer.
If it’s not the lack of sun then why (seemingly all of a sudden in the middle of September) every year do I get that feeling that gnaws away inside me?
It’s a really difficult emotion to describe but it’s one I’ve heard others reference: one that says “you’re not good enough”. It’s just an overwhelming feeling of sadness that seems to creep up on me from nowhere.
Autumn seems to be coming earlier. Usually, as my hayfever tails off, the need to start taking my asthma inhaler begins – but this year, they’re overlapping. That can only mean one thing: I need to start battening down the hatches earlier.
Reviewing the things I listed last year that tend to help means I can prepare myself for what is to come:
- Cold showers – unfortunately the house we’ve moved to doesn’t have a shower and it’s going to be awkward to put one in until we convert the loft. It’s high on my list of priorities, though.
- Autumn half-term holiday to somewhere sunny – not currently booked as we went away in the summer holidays. However, I am speaking at a conference in Miami in early December.
- Schedule less time away from home – a lot easier this year than last because of the changing nature of my role at Mozilla.
- Vitamin D tablets – purchasing today.
- SAD light – already out of its box in preparation. I may take some preventative ‘doses’ on grey days during this coming week.
- Daily walks – I’ve started walking every morning, although I may need to change this to midday later in the year.
Of course, the best thing would be to split my time between our home in Northumberland and somewhere like California or the Mediterranean. Unfortunately, that’s unlikely to be happening anytime, as our children get older and we ‘put down roots’.
Managing my mental health is one of the most important things I can do – for myself, my family, and my employers. It’s all too easy to get into a spiral from which it’s extremely difficult to escape. Hopefully, being mindful, starting earlier, and taking the steps above will make the next six months manageable.
Thanks to those who commented on my post last year with some suggestions:
- Joel mentioned that changing his diet, getting outside more, and altering some of his activities (less Facebook, less fiction reading) helped.
- Mark suggested fitting daylight CFL’s around the house to brighten the place up.
- Jade recommended St. John’s Wort and Evening Primrose to fight off depression – as well as waking up with sunlight.
- Clint swears by feeling the full force of nature by standing on the beach during a gale, writing more, and watching fun movies.
To finish, a quotation:
In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.