How I Manage Seasonal Changes to Maintain Balance
Seasonal changes affect my mental and physical health in various ways, particularly during the hottest and coldest months of the year. The effects have ranged from fatigue and irritability during summer to depression in winter. Fortunately, there are ways to manage these seasonal changes and maintain balance.
Seasonal Changes and My Mental Health
As another wet and humid rainy season ends here in Japan, feelings of relief again give way to weariness at the realization that summer is now in full swing. Back home in the UK, summer was the season I looked forward to the most. I could enjoy hiking along the rugged coast, camping trips in the countryside, and long evenings in the garden having barbecues with friends.
In Japan, the summer conjures images of brightly colored festivals, dazzling fireworks, and the feeling that everything has come alive as insects buzz and whir incessantly in the trees. But summer seasonal changes also bring intense heat and overwhelmingly high humidity. As someone who likes to spend most of my free time outdoors, the inability to go outside due to the scorching weather takes a toll on my physical and mental wellbeing. The temperature barely drops at night, and sleeping is difficult without air conditioning. My energy wanes as fatigue and exhaustion lead to agitation and irritability.
Adapting to Seasonal Changes
Making it through the relentless summer weather means modifying my lifestyle in several ways. I don't go hiking or do any climbing outdoors, but I spend more time stretching and climbing at the air-conditioned indoor gym. I avoid sun exposure as much as possible and cover up with a hat and long sleeves when I go out during the day. Staying well-hydrated with plenty of fluids is paramount, and taking a cold shower before and after work helps refresh my mind and body. It's also helpful to remember that the heat is only temporary and will dissipate as quickly as it came. Knowing that the cooler months will arrive eventually can go a long way toward alleviating the discomfort and helping me endure the oppressive heat and humidity of the seasonal changes in summer.
The opposite end of the spectrum is winter. Thankfully, I haven't had any problems for the past few winters, but this wasn't always the case. For many years I would get depressed, despite it being the festive season and typically a joyous and happy time. I would begin by looking forward to the holidays, only to find myself on another course of antidepressants shortly after. Recognizing the problem and getting help was essential to my recovery, and now I appreciate the winter seasonal change again.
Tips for Maintaining Balance Through Seasonal Changes
Although the impact of seasonal change on mental and physical health is likely to vary from person to person, I've found the following tips help me maintain balance throughout the year:
- I modify my free-time activities with the seasons. Doing so helps me manage the changes effectively and introduces worthwhile variety.
- I keep my bedroom environment comfortable throughout the year to ensure I sleep well.
- I dress appropriately for the season to enhance comfort and protect myself from the environment.
- I remember the seasons are only temporary, and my physical and mental states will improve.
- Perhaps most importantly, I seek support from friends, family, or mental health professionals to discuss my feelings and experiences whenever things get too much.
While I have experienced significant shifts in mood because of seasonal changes, others might be less affected. Being aware of our individual needs and seeking support when necessary can help us overcome the challenges of seasonal transitions and restore balance to our overall health and wellbeing.
Brocklebank, M. (2023, July 10). How I Manage Seasonal Changes to Maintain Balance, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, December 1 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/livingablissfullife/2023/7/how-i-manage-seasonal-changes-to-maintain-balance