Prairie Post (East Edition)

Change in season means change in mood and not necessaril­y for the better

- By Michelle Deminick, CMHA Michelle Deminick is the Recovery Trainer at Canadian Mental Health Associatio­n, Alberta Southeast Region and can be reached at recoverytr­ or 403-504-1811. To find out more about CMHA programs and/or events vi

Fall may be a difficult time of year for many people as the sun goes down earlier each day. There is less sunlight during the fall and winter season which means there is more hours of darkness. For some people they wake up and go to work in the dark and when they get off work they leave home in the dark. As we know from research that we need vitamin D from the sun which helps alleviate symptoms of depression. So what do we do for our mental health during these months? First of all, it is important to know what Autumn is.

Fall symbolizes letting go, comfort, and embracing change. The leaves on the trees are withering and dying and falling to the ground. The trees are shedding the old leaves to make way for new leaves in the spring. Death and dying of the leaves is about letting go. Fall teaches us to let go of what no longer serves us to make room for the new.

In fall it begins to get colder and many of us begin to hibernate during this time of year as some animals do. We want the comfort and warmth of our homes where we may curl up on the couch by the fireplace with a blanket and a book.

Hibernatio­n is a time for self-reflection and that self-reflection leads to self awareness which in turn leads to change. Change in our lives is vital for transforma­tion as it helps us move forward and overcome our barriers to a happy and healthy life.

Now that we have looked at what fall represents, lets connect what we can do for our mental health in the darker months.

Firstly, we can make a list of what is unhealthy in our lives and look at letting it go.

Secondly, we take a deeper look at our selves and our life using self reflection. This can be done by looking at what is unhealthy and holding us back in our lives.

Lastly, connecting that self-reflection by getting to know our thought processes and patterns will help us to begin to identify and make the changes needed in our lives to move towards healthier ways. Remember that by embracing the change, you will begin to transform like a caterpilla­r that comes out of its cocoon as a beautiful butterfly!

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