As the cooler weather unpacks its bags and makes its home in our lives for the coming months, this can bring about emotional baggage. This season can be a difficult time for many. Some become introspective, while others face overwhelming sadness. It’s not in your head. I want to start by validating that your feelings are real. I also want to encourage you to observe how these feelings tie into the changing winds, reduced sunshine, and cooling air. More importantly, I want to put you in tune with the world around you. Let us observe why these feelings surface in such a strong way during what many consider happy holidays. 

Let’s begin by addressing our sources of sadness. For some, the loss of a loved one is going to weigh heavy on their hearts through this season. Memories of times together will be at the forefront of their minds and learning their way through a new normal can be very difficult. For others, the season intensifies depression. The reasons include many factors. From holiday expenses to social gatherings and associated anxiety to the ending of the current year, depressive states can become overwhelming during this time. I also want to draw your attention to nature. Yes, nature. It’s imperative we see how the decreased sunlight is directly associated with our ability to cope during this time. We need that natural source of vitamin D and our bodies, the magnificent beings we are, are quite aware.  

With these observations, I encourage you to practice mindfulness. Understand, first and foremost, you are not alone. I also want to express that mindfulness isn’t a cure. It does, however, create balance and restore stability. When we breathe, observe, and understand that we will get through this period in our lives, we have stepped towards hope. That’s the very fiber that keeps us going through difficulties; hope.   

When you practice mindfulness, you acknowledge the loss you have experienced. While this seems simple, acknowledging allows you to begin to explore the harder feelings that come with loss. It also ushers in the process of healing. Does this bring immediate healing? No. It does, however, focus your mind on the beauty of their existence. It places good memories in the forefront of your mind. 

With depression, practicing mindfulness can soothe the fatigue and anxiety associated with it. Again, it’s not a cure-all, but it does give you the breathing room and space to put one foot in front of the other. When you awake each day, practicing mindfulness will help you focus on that very hour of awakening. It gives you the ability to keep your mind on the moment and not try to project the entirety of the day. This, alone, can bring some peace and calm to your life.  

As the sun shines a little less on us, we can feel this impact on our emotions. Practicing mindfulness will help us to remember to carve out some time into our day to find the sunshine; to soak in its goodness. Mindfulness also helps us to realize the temporary nature of cloudy days. It also helps us to see beyond the lack of sunlight and to focus on what we could do or learn during this time. If the clouds abound and the sun remains to be seen, mindfulness reminds us to bring joy to our lives. Is this a chance to pick up that book you’ve not had time to read? Is this a chance to volunteer with an organization? Or, perhaps, is this your chance to attempt a new hobby that challenges both sides of your brain? Mindfulness gives us the opportunity to try new things and challenge ourselves. 

While practicing mindfulness might seem like an oversimplified step, it truly opens your world to intentional healing. It gives you the chance to healthily take in these moments during the autumn and winter seasons.  

If you’re not sure where to begin with practicing mindfulness, I encourage you to reach out to me. I would love to be a part of your healing journey.  

Source and additional reading: Winter Blues