There’s something magical about this time of year: the nostalgia of back-to-school vibes, pumpkins on every doorstep, the hint of crisp weather, and sunsets so pretty you’d think they were fake. I love fall, but after the initial excitement of pumpkin-flavored drinks and sweater weather wears off, I’ve found over time that the shorter days and chilly temperatures can leave me feeling physically and mentally drained. And honestly, a little down in the dumps at times. If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. As the season changes, it’s natural for our moods to shift too. I read recently that a decrease in daylight can affect our not only our sleep, but energy levels and social ability too!
While I’m a firm believer in taking steps to protect your mental health all year round, the change in seasons may require you to engage in some extra support. You might need to be proactive to prevent the fall and winter blues from setting in! I wanted to share some of the things that I do to protect my mental health during this time of year–I create little rituals that support me in a positive way. Take a peek at my seven wellness rituals you can implement now for a happiness boost and mood overhaul that will get you through the upcoming season.
1. Pick up a new hobby
As the weather outside turns frightful, we spend more time indoors. And if you’re anything like me, this means you tend to spend more time mindlessly scrolling social media, making you feel less than energized. As you cozy up inside this fall, consider putting down your phone and picking up a new hobby. Hobbies help to relieve stress while providing a creative outlet. As a bonus, hobbies can also allow you to connect with community members who share your interests. So whether it is picking up an instrument, learning to hand letter, reading a new genre of fiction, taking up puzzles, or trying a new workout, there’s something for everyone to try this fall.
2. Get outside
Summer might have come to a close, but it doesn’t mean your hot girl walks have to. Regardless of the season, I’ve found that spending time in nature boosts my mood, eases stress, and helps me feel more confident. Bundle up in your favorite fall layers to enjoy walks or workouts outside. Fall is my favorite time to hike (It’s WAY too hot in Texas during the summer) and we’ve found that finding ways to participate in outdoor activities also helps our mood–pumpkin patch visits, outdoor festivals, or concerts are great too!
3. Try a new recipe
There is just something about fall and the cooler months that makes me want to bake! Call me basic, but I will take all the pumpkin- and apple-flavored foods. Bonus points if it’s cinnamon flavored too! When it comes to fall cooking, I feel like the possibilities are endless for creating comforting, healthy, and nourishing meals. Take this as your sign to break out your favorite cookbook or search Pinterest to find a new fall recipes. By making it a point to try a new recipe each week, you create intention, purpose, and something to look forward to, which can be energizing and inspiring. Bonus points–invite your friends over to cook together.
4. Plan something to look forward to
Having something to look forward to can increase happiness and make you feel more creative and productive. But that doesn’t mean you have to go on a luxurious vacation every weekend or plan a huge party. This fall, try planning experiences with your friends or family, like a Halloween costume party, pumpkin carving contest, football watch party, or Friendsgiving. These events can help build anticipation in a positive way. And on a smaller scale, take the time to jazz up your morning cup of coffee or spend a little more time putting together your work outfit, which can also boost your happiness quota.
5. Do a fall cleaning session
You’ve heard of spring cleaning, but what about fall cleaning? Like the leaves falling, the changing season is the perfect time to let go of what’s no longer serving you. Consider this your moment to go ruthless–cleaning out and clearing away items you no longer use, wear, or need. I like finding local organizations in our community to donate the items to or I’ll find a friend who has a daughter younger than Callie to gift her gently used clothes. I also think fall is also a great time to do an internal check in and reflect on the current year and the months ahead. Are you meeting your goals? What habits are you looking to form? What behaviors are no longer serving you? What old patterns and belief systems do you need to let go of? Dive in to make the last few months of the year the best ones yet.
6. Play with your pet
Whenever I need a quick pick up, I’ll spend a few minutes playing with our dog, Jack. It’s amazing what a few belly rubs will do to improve your mood.
7. Prioritize rest
When the days get shorter, it’s natural to feel more tired. You shouldn’t push through it or get down on yourself for feeling less energized. Take a cue from nature and use this time to hibernate and prioritize rest–physically and mentally. Getting enough sleep is key to a strong immune systems, which is something I know we can all benefit from this time of year. Make it a point to stick to a consistent sleep schedule that works for you, and if your sleep is already in check, find other ways to protect your energy this season. That could mean choosing your commitments wisely, spending less time scrolling, or adding in blue light glasses.