Unpopular opinion: fall is not my favorite season. I love pumpkin desserts and Halloween as much as the next Lovely, but I just can't help it: I'm a true summer baby. (Can I just reminisce for a moment on beach trips, barbecuing, sundresses and watermelon? Gone too soon.)
While others are excited about leaves changing colors, I'm dreading the chillier temperatures and shorter days. And it's no wonder: in college, my school's counseling center told me I likely had seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. Whether it's a serious mental health issue for you or not, it's not uncommon to feel a little bit sluggish, or even depressed, once the dreary weather sets in. Read on for some ways to boost to your mood...
Kind of a no-brainer, but exercise is always important and releases serotonin, a "feel good" chemical. While it's still pretty warm in my area, I already feel a dip in my energy levels thanks to earlier and earlier sunsets. Even if it's late night walk with my pup, by the time we get back I'm feeling reinvigorated.
2. Eat Healthy
Another no-brainer, but as much as I love those aforementioned pumpkin desserts, they are definitely not the best thing for me to eat when I'm down. The sugar and carbs may gave me a short-lived mood boost, complex carbs (including fresh fruit and veggies) make a bigger impact. So instead of grabbing a slice of apple pie, maybe grab an actual apple. Fresh food is best!
3. Sleep Soundly But Wake Up Early
To stay healthy and refreshed, 7-8 hours of sleep is key. It can be a challenge, especially while in school, but it's important to stay as consistent as possible when it comes to your sleeping routine. The easiest way for me to do that is having a set wakeup time (now a lot easier thanks to a job), so I can have plenty of time to get things done in the morning. Another added benefit of waking up early...
4. Enjoy The Sunshine
Sunlight exposure boosts our vitamin D levels and our moods! But if you're waking up around 11 in the morning with the sun setting just six hours later, getting enough natural light is difficult. It's hard, but I'm doing my best to wake up at 7 am, so I can enjoy all 11 hours of light, even if it's just sitting near the window. (Speciality lamps help with light exposure as light therapy, but there's nothing like the real thing.)
5. Fall In Love With Fall
Or at least try to. I grew up without seasons (which contributes to my depressive cycles in the fall and wintertime), so I've never really done any traditional fall activities. This year I'm working on that in a positive way, chipping away at my fall bucket list — I even went apple picking for the first time! Fall can't be thatbad.
6. Bundle Up, Cuddle and Reach Out
Whether it's a physical connection or a digital one due to distance, experiencing intense sadness or even depression shouldn't be as isolating as it already is. Now is the time to rely on family and friends to express your feelings, reflect on the good and bad and just get some warm and fuzzy feelings going. If you think you need to,don't hesitate to contact a mental health professional either.