Autumn Days, Adjusting to Shorter Days

Written by Ash

Adjusting to the shorter days

Last Sunday the clocks changed, and we entered Daylight Savings Time (DST). DST was first observed in the United Kingdom in 1916. There are plenty of myths about the origins of DST, from making mornings darker and Coldplay’s (great?) grandfather being to blame, but the reality for many people is the winter months have a profound effect on mental health.

In the UK over a third of adults suffer from low mood in Autumn and winter, with more than 1 in 20 diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), me included! While I would love to click my fingers and have long, sunny days year around I do worry about the impact on climate change. Instead, hopefully these tips and tricks below will be some help*.

  • Take a walk in the daylight each day

Preferably when the sun is highest, to make the most of natural light. Even better if you can get out into nature! If you are unable to do this, consider purchasing a natural light lamp, or light therapy lamp. These are lamps that mimic natural light and used appropriately are said to help with mood and sleep.

  • Check in with your physical health

This is a busy time of year for many people, and it’s easy for healthy eating and exercise to take a back foot. Why not take a moment to check in and see if there are any small changes you could make. Perhaps you’re not getting your 5 a day? Perhaps you could walk back from uni to get some steps in (and daylight!) whatever it is it only take small changes to see the benefits.

  • Practice relaxation, in a way that works for you.

This could be getting out into nature, practicing mindfulness or painting your nails. Stress and mental health impacts us all differently, and the solutions will be different too!

  • Reach out

This could be sending a text to a friend, contacting your university wellbeing team or popping down to reception for a cuppa and to help us finish the Halloween sweets! It’s natural to want to cuddle up inside as the weather gets colder, but if you ever feel lonely remember you don’t need to be alone.

For more in-depth information on SAD please check out the link below:

What is seasonal affective disorder (SAD)? – Mind

*This is not medical advice, please follow the instructions of your medical practitioner. If you suspect you have SAD, or have any medical concerns please see you GP.