Reset Your Mood This Fall

By Dr. Jillian Satin, Registered Clinical and Health Psychologist

Fall MoodWith all its promises of change, the beginning of fall is an ideal time to check in with yourself about your mood.

For many of us, our mood tends to be higher in spring and summer, and lower in fall and winter. While you may feel your best when the sun is shining and the patios are open, it is not simply the weather that determines how we feel. Research shows that being more active, making time for fun, and connecting with others helps to boost our mood.

To prevent a drop in your mood this September, start paying attention to your weekly mood, energy, and activity levels. If you notice changes, use the following tips to get back on track:

Resist hibernation: In the colder, darker months, it can be nice to cuddle up on the couch under a blanket. Caution: too much hibernating can lead to a cycle of inactivity. The less you do, the less you will feel like doing. The longer this cycle goes on, the harder it will be to change.

Keep Moving: Regular exercise, no matter how vigorous, has been shown to improve mood. The best type of exercise is the one that you do! If you were walking, running, or playing an outdoor sport in summer, plan ways to keep active as the weather cools. Whether this means choosing an indoor sport, joining a gym, or braving the cold for outdoor walks and runs, try to maintain the same activity level as you had in summer.

Take Pleasure Seriously: Do you prioritize work and obligations ahead of pleasure? Do you feel guilty for relaxing? While you’re not alone, it’s important to remember that pleasure is essential for self-care and maintaining your mood. Think of pleasure as medicine and make sure you’re getting a good dose. Simple daily pleasures can be as easy as savouring your favourite tea or making time for an activity that is just for fun.

Connect: While it can be a real pain to leave your home as the temperature drops, we all need regular face-to-face contact with people we care about. Notice if you are withdrawing from people, and repeatedly turning down social plans in favour of staying home. It may be worth the extra effort to push yourself out the door, even though you may not feel like it.

See the Light: A lack of sunlight can contribute to lower moods and disrupt our circadian rhythms, similar to the experience of jet lag. As the days grow shorter, try to spend time outside your home and office every day, especially in the morning. The sun can be hard to find in winter, so seize the opportunity when it comes out.

Help Is Available: If you find your mood is consistently low or that you are losing interest in most activities, it is a good idea to talk to a healthcare provider. Our team at Simcoe Health can recommend a range of effective and tailored treatment options to help you feel your best.

If you would like to discuss how psychological therapy can help with your mood or other emotional challenges, click here to book a consultation.

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