With fewer daylight hours, fall can lead to lower energy, even sadness or depression. These nine simple tips can be helpful in lessening or even preventing the fall blues. (If you are depressed, you may want to speak to a therapist.)
- Take a hike in the woods. Forest-bathing, known as Shinrin Yoku in Japanese, has been shown to offer therapeutic effects for body and mind.
- Walk on the beach. Even if it’s too cool outside for a swim, walking on the beach and listening to the heart-beat rhythm of the waves can entrain our own breathing and heartbeats, helping us to relax.
- Cozy up indoors in a clean, welcoming space. Spring cleaning is a cliche, but fall is also a great time to overhaul your living space. This provides a feeling of accomplishment as well as prepares your space for several months of indoor-focused living.
- Join and connect. Now is the time to join a group or take a class, whether it’s group therapy, an art class, a volunteer organization, etc.
- Fill your calendar. Plan one exciting event each month (a get-together with friends, a concert, etc.) It’s a simple but true emotional boost–having something to look forward to brings happiness.
- Check your Vitamin D levels. You can get a simple blood test from your doctor. If they are low, you might want to supplement with Vitamin D3. There is some evidence that seems to suggest it might play a role in mental health. But you need Vitamin D for so many important bodily functions that if your levels are low, it would be beneficial anyway. (Check with your MD, holistic physician or nutritionist.)
- Improve your diet. Good nutrition plays a vital role in your moods.
- Get ready for low light levels. I believe sub-clinical levels of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) do affect us. Some SAD therapies add more light–and happiness–to your life.
- Exercise. Indoors or outdoors. Physical exercise, especially the kind of exercise you enjoy, helps combat sadness and depression. Studies show that exercise has many benefits, including releasing natural brain chemicals that make us feel good (neurotransmitters, endorphins and endocannabinoids, according to some studies.)