1. Stay out of the dark - Although Southern California is blessed with more days of sun than many areas of the country, the fall time change, earlier sunsets and darker days can have a big - potentially negative - impact on mood. If you're affected by the seasonal change, try to go outside every day, take extra vitamin D, or talk to your doctor about more severe symptoms.
2. Give yourself a break - The holidays are a busy and stressful time of year and many of us try to do too much and put off self-care for after we've taken care of everyone else. But self-care isn't a reward for getting everything done - it is a critical part of the process. This year, take breaks early and often and if you're struggling with how to cope, try focusing on finding tiny moments of happiness in your day. Research has found the little things add up over time and help us feel more positive throughout the season.
3. Be open to new traditions - Pandemic restrictions mean you may not be able to be with friends or family or do many of the things that make it feel like the holidays. Instead of dwelling on what you can't do, try some new traditions or bring back some of the old ones - like long phone catch ups or sending holiday cards with personal notes.
4. Give the gift of attention - with all the added health, economic and emotional stressors this season, the most important things you can give are your time and your ear. Research shows just one person reaching out can make all the difference to someone in distress. This year resolve to make sure your friends, family and colleagues know they aren't alone.
5. Know where to get help - If you or someone you care about is experiencing a suicidal or mental health crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255. You can also call the CARES Line at (800) 706-7500 or visit Up2Riverside.org if you need someone
to talk to or are looking for local mental health resources.