By Guest Blogger Juan Santos

I recently went hiking with a friend and we found ourselves deep in the topic of the fall slump. This is the slump that happens to so many of us. Right around October, it takes hold. We can feel it in the change in temperature and see it as the days grow shorter with less sunlight.

During the hike, my friend shared with me the mixture of love and dislike he has for the fall and winter season. We quickly put on our mental health practitioner hats and began advising each other on how to navigate the fall slump.

  1. Know your mind and body.

One of the best ways to cope and find freedom from the fall slump is to get ahead of it. Do not wait for your symptoms to get you.

Let me give you an example, let’s say that around October you notice that you become more secluded because it gets darker earlier in the day. Yet, during the spring and summer you were the complete opposite.

This is vital to know. It’s important to realize that during spring and summer your time outdoors and around friends directly impacted you by increasing two hormones, serotine and dopamine. These are hormones that impact your mood, energy, sleep, and overall mental health.

If you find yourself during the fall and winter leaning to seclusion, try to lean the other way. This strategy can go a long way in improving your quality of life.

  1. Embrace the change in seasons

I find that a large amount of my patients that struggle with seasonal affective disorder can list out numerous activities that they like to do during the spring and summer. This can be anything from hiking to having fun at the pool. Yet, when we discuss what to do during the fall and winter there is a shorter list.

My encouragement is that you open your arms and fully embrace the change of seasons.

You can do this by reaching out to friends and peers to identify what they like to do during the fall and winter or joining extracurricular activities that take place during the fall or winter.

Doing this will help you to maintain a routine during the fall and winter. Try to select activities that incorporate physical activity, social interaction, and outdoor time.

Below are a few examples:

  • Go for a morning hike. This way you can soak up those early hours of sunlight.
  • Take a break during the workday and go for an outdoor walk.
  • Join a bird watching group.

As you walk away from this reading, I want to encourage you to keep one thought in mind. And that is that fall is a melting pot. In it you find the beautiful foliage that carries through the Appalachian Mountains. You feel it’s’ cold wind wake you in the morning. With that said, be mindful of the power held in your perspective.

Want to see more blogs like this and also get notifications on local events and happenings? Subscribe to our free weekly newsletters here.