There’s a chill in the air and it’s dark by midday. For some people, their favorite seasons are coming. Autumn, Thanksgiving, the holiday season. For others, it is not the most wonderful time of the year. With shorter days, nights feel longer, and the darkness feels unbearable.  Seasonal Affective Disorder can affect mood, eating habits, sleeping patterns — all aspects of our lives. How can we best prepare ourselves for the inevitable change in the seasons?

The first step is recognizing what is coming. The leaves changing is a great indicator of the colder weather fast approaching. Seeing the signs will help you prepare your heart for the  unavoidable (unless you choose to spend the next few months in Florida.)

Find things that bring you joy. Have you read through your TBR list yet? Is there a new television show you’ve been wanting to watch? Is there a new recipe you’ve been wanting to try? Routine can be beneficial, but spontaneity can add to the monotony of the colder seasons.

Get active! The colder weather makes it much easier to wrap ourselves up in a blanket by the fire, but staying active can help us regulate our emotions and release some of the tension and stress from our day-to-day life. Find a new workout routine to try at the gym! Go on a hike and take in the beautiful scenery of the changing seasons. Buy yourself a new pair of running shoes and find a running buddy! The sun is out for a short part of the day, so find ways that are tailored to your favorite things that get you outside.

Curate your own special toolbox for when the days become shorter. Find things that you enjoy doing when it gets harder. Step outside your comfort zone and try something new. Your mental health is important, you are important.