When I stepped outside and onto my front porch this morning a cool breeze brushed against my face. I also felt a bit of warmth from the fall sun; and both sensations were very soothing. I turned around to close my front door and while doing so I could hear a group of leaves bustling down the street behind me.
Naturally, I didn’t have to turn around to know that they were leaves that had recently fell from the neighborhood trees. In my mind I called upon past memories of the season and I thought to myself, “this only happens once a year.” This was fall in full effect and as I turned around to face the street, all of the leaves began to then scatter to different areas of the street and into yards like little colorful children laughing and playing a game of tag.
It’s always the little things that capture my attention, and where I find some of the most intriguing things to be grateful for. Practicing gratitude allows me to readjust my focus so that I am always able to find “something” good in everything. Even those things that I normally would not find pleasing – like cold weather months, for example.
When fall arrives I know that I will now have to try to plan my outdoor walks and hiking trips a bit more carefully for the next few months, if at all, and this alone contributes to my “blues” along with grieving and missing the sunshine. However, the cooler months also bring with them the opportunity to sit or lay by a fireplace fire, and if I keep looking on the bright side and maintain an open mind, I will also be able to appreciate the fact that I can still perform other exercises and activities indoors. Optimism is a beautiful thing. I guess that is why we as a society celebrate it.
A big part of conquering the “blues” involves maintaining a positive outlook once the weather changes. Yet, as I have discovered, this isn’t always easy to do especially if the shift to cooler weather and shorter daylight hours are affecting you while you are grieving. There are a few things that anyone can do to help make this time of year more pleasant and more manageable and I have listed fifteen tips below that I have personally tried and that seem to be helpful.
- Practice gratitude – Find something in every day, no matter how big or small, to be grateful for. Begin by noticing something good about the changes that come with both the fall and winter seasons.
- Get a pet. Pets can help keep you stay healthy by encouraging you to stay active. It may also help to care for something else other than yourself.
- Open your curtains or blinds as often as possible to allow the sun to shine in and keep your mood positive.
- Exercise or find another way to keep you body active for a few minutes a day.
- Take up a new hobby or start a fall or winter craft. This can be especially helpful in easing any grief. Try creating something in honor of the person who has passed away or create something that sparks your interest. Either way, creative expression is good for managing feelings and emotions.
- Find an exercise buddy to keep things exciting and for accountability.
- Eat healthy and don’t feel bad about treating yourself to a favorite treat once in a while…think balance.
- Volunteer or donate to a cause that you care about, or that your loved one cared about. When we help others it can give us insight and remind us that things aren’t as bad as they may seem.
- Join a club such as a grief group, book club or hiking club, or any club that sparks your interest. This is a great way to maintain social contacts and prevent feelings of isolation.
- Create fall or winter rituals such as decorating for the holidays, cooking holiday meals, baking desserts, (especially those that your lost loved one enjoyed), or burn candles and make a fire in the fireplace. These things can help you enjoy the “warmth” of the season.
- Avoid negativity – Surround yourself with positive people and positive environments. Negativity can be stressful and may trigger unfavorable emotions and memories.
- Look forward – Create something special to look forward to in the coming year such as a memorial event, or a solo or family trip or vacation.
- Stay social – Spend time with family and friends, share family memories and create new ones, or simply get together with friends to watch a movie or have brunch or dinner out at a restaurant.
- Play music – Listen to your favorite music regularly in your home or car to give your mind a break. You may also enjoy playing a little holiday music during the holidays to add a little cheeriness to the gloomier seasons.
- Create a morning and evening ritual – such as practicing meditation, yoga, prayer or journaling as these practices can help with maintaining a positive outlook.
Thankfully, seasons change, and “the blues” will too, but until the seasons actually do change and bring back the longer, brighter days with the trees and other foliage beginning to show hints of a less monochromatic world we have just a few months in which we can savor the beauty that fall and winter bestows us. Let’s enjoy it together. Shall we? Happy October!
Until the next post.
Take Care + Be Well,