After a long, sunny summer filled with fun and vacation, it is common to experience a dip in mood come fall. A percentage of the population will also experience something called seasonal affective disorder (SAD), where the shift in season and changing light causes a form of depression. While you may not experience SAD, most of us feel a significant shift in energy and mood levels when autumn rolls around, especially in areas where the colder months are more intense (think colder and darker!)
Here are our best fall mood boosters to ease the transition!
Schedule social time regularly
As it gets a bit chilly, we tend to stay in more, and cozy up at home. However, it’s important for your mental health to avoid long periods of social isolation. Joining a weekly club or planning a regular get together with friends will help keep you connected. Even a FaceTime call with a loved one can help you stay out of a rut!
When we don’t have the nice weather to motivate us, it can be less enticing to get outside and walk, ride bikes, swim, etc., but we know exercise is key for those mood-boosting endorphins. Autumn is a great time to set up a new routine you can stick to. If you’re looking to mix things up, try out a few new indoor studios or gyms. Group fitness classes add in that key social factor we mentioned earlier, and help keep you accountable.
Prioritize light exposure
Dr. Mark Hyman recommends 20 minutes of sunlight exposure upon waking, to trigger your brain to release hormones and chemicals that regulate sleep and mood. Even when it starts to get even colder, you’re going to want to take advantage of time spent in direct light. Try to bundle up and also take a walk around noon, when the sun is at its brightest. Getting direct sunlight exposure has so many mood-boosting benefits including stress reduction and increasing serotonin levels.
If you can’t get light…fake it!
If you live in a region where daylight hours get significantly shorter in fall and winter, you may benefit from a phototherapy light box. These devices mimic sunlight, and trick your brain into releasing those same happy neurochemicals. Try using a light box for 20-30 minutes upon waking. A similar device, called a dawn simulator, will also be useful. Instead of a typical alarm clock that wakes you up with jarring sounds, a dawn simulator will wake you slowly with increasingly bright light, just like the rising sun.
Stay on top of your mindfulness game
This is easier said than done, but it’s best to get a game plan in advance as back-to-school, work, and holidays ramp up. Find a mindfulness strategy that works for you, whether it be meditation, journaling, breathwork, or even simply scheduling some down time away from work and screens. Put this time into your calendar and make it a non-negotiable part of your daily routine.
Optimize your supplement stack
We’ve all heard a vitamin D supplement is key during the winter months. According to research, vitamin D deficiency is very common in the US, affecting approximately 42% of the population. This is due to the fact that sun absorption is the most important source of vitamin D. In addition to a vitamin D supplement, consider adding a serving of COAST to your daily routine. Using cutting-edge ingredients, COAST is designed to complement your multivitamin with NMN, L-Cysteine, amino acids, and antioxidants to boost performance and enhance recovery.