Summer is coming to an end. Feeling down around this time is quite common, especially for those of us who live in colder climates and can see the winter approaching. Here are 6 ways to fight those end-of-summer blues:
#1. Get sunlight. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) affects up to 10% of people. You may not have full blown SAD, but use the same treatment—and the same preventive measures—to feel better. Soak up the sunlight. Open your blinds at home. Find areas at work that have natural light; perhaps take breaks in a room where the sun streams in or that’s near a skylight. Choose to walk the longer route on sunny days. Eat lunch in the park. Even if it’s chilly outside, the sunlight itself will help you.
#2. Exercise. Physical exercise alleviates stress and makes you feel healthier and happier in general. When you exercise, natural endorphins kick in that improve your mood. It may be particularly helpful if you exercise outside; a brisk power walk when it’s light outside will help you get fit, feel better, and soak up sunlight! Aim to have at least four-40 minute episodes of aerobic exercise per week.
#3. Eat summer foods. In the summer, we tend to eat healthier than in other seasons. Meals are filled with fresh fruit, raw vegetables, and big salads. Keep this up! Just because the weather is changing doesn’t mean we have to load up on the carbs. Aim to have three of these “summer meals” a week. Bring fruit and vegetable snacks to work instead of potato chips. Choose a salad over a carb-heavy lunch. A change in diet can help you feel significantly better.
#4. Sleep early and well. As it starts to get dark earlier, shift your schedule gradually to the earlier side. Make sure you are getting at least 8 hours of sleep every night. Waking up earlier helps you get more sunlight, and good sleep hygiene is essential to good physical and mental health.
#5. Keep reminders of summer with you. Display your pictures of summer vacation. Use lotions and scents with coconut and other summery smells. Light a scented candle, and break out the bubble bath. These little touches can make a difference.
#6. Make good plans for the rest of the seasons. Have some things that you are looking forward to in the fall and the winter. Perhaps it’s a vacation, or party, or other event–maybe it’s as simple as viewing the fall colors. Celebrate the little things too, and treat yourself often. There are reasons to embrace the other seasons too! And if all else fails, summer isn’t that far the future again.