As summertime comes to a close, you start packing away your swimsuits and flip-flops and bringing out cozy sweaters. You might begin to feel a seasonal change not only in the weather but also in your menstrual cycle. Painful cramps, as well as longer and heavier periods, tend to happen more during the colder months.

If you’re struggling with how to handle these shifts, read on to learn what to look out for, as well as autumn self-care tips for keeping Aunt Flo’ from ruining the season for you:

1. Things Might Get Heavy

As the days slowly become shorter, you might find yourself spending more time indoors due to a combination of workload, colder weather, and fatigue. While we know this can affect mental health, we might not be aware that it can also affect menstrual flow.

A lack of vitamin-D from sunlight can cause you to experience heavier periods. Limited sunshine and vitamin D can lead to hormonal imbalances that affect menstruation, as well as slow the thyroid and affect metabolism.

If you find yourself dealing with heavier periods than you’re used to, don’t fret! The DivaCup comes in three different sizes to accommodate your flow. If you’re having trouble determining which size is right for you, refer to Diva’s Menstrual Cup Size Guide to get a better idea. 

2. Your Mood Will Swing

Seasonal changes also affect our mood. In the summer, we tend to feel like our best selves. The sun is out, the weather is warm, and socializing is at its peak. Exposure to sunlight can play a big part in feeling happier during the summer months and can also explain why your mood shifts as the days get shorter. Less daylight and resulting vitamin D can reduce the production of serotonin, our feel-good hormone.

Your period might begin to feel worse as decreased sun exposure can lead to an increase in feelings of depression and anxiety. Here are our fall mental health tips.

Make a few lifestyle changes, like daily walks outside or increasing your water intake. These are small ways to help improve your mood. However, if you’re having a hard time shaking the dark cloud over your head, consider seeking assistance with depression. Make therapy a part of your autumn self-care. A personalized approach to mental wellness can help you feel in control of seasonal challenges.

It is not uncommon to feel moodier during your period but it doesn’t have to last forever. Be mindful of changes you can make and remember it never hurts to ask for help.

3. Period Pain Might Increase

With less exposure to the sun and the onset of cooler temperatures, you might feel groggier. You might feel yourself slowing down, wanting to stay in bed longer, or on the couch more than usual. Increased immobility however can lead to more pain and menstrual cramping. This is caused by reduced blood circulation due to the lack of movement or a poor diet.

Although exercise might be the last thing on your mind, spending at least 20 minutes a day doing light cardio, like walking, can aid any discomfort from your period. Daily physical activity increases circulation and releases “feel-good hormones” giving you the boost of energy you need to be more active.

If you are still struggling to get active, focus instead on something lower impact like yoga or meditative breathing exercises to help reduce stress and ease cramps. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to create a whole fitness plan. Instead, find ways to motivate yourself to get moving even if it’s walking to your favorite café or taking your lunch break to meditate.

Shifting to Autumn Self-Care

As the seasons change, our lifestyle changes. Be aware of how colder weather habits may be impacting you and your period. Follow these autumn self-care ideas instead and create new habits that cater to the new season and your needs within it.