September days are here. Sweater weather. Back to school. Warm mugs of Earl Grey tea (with a dash of cream and sprinkle of sugar) sipped slowly. And my favorite: turning leaves from verdant greens to golds, oranges and yellows. The first “tokens” of autumn’s arrival are nudges to slow down after the flurry of summer activity.
Out here in the Pacific Northwest, fall also comes with a dramatic shortening of days and lengthening of nights. And of course, a return to overcast and rainy weather. This trifecta can be a recipe for darkened moods and even seasonal affect disorder (SAD).
Today, I am sharing my top 4 personal tips to keep the light shining when Mother Nature is not. (And please, please, please consult with your doctor if you think you have seasonal affect disorder.)
1. Shine your own light.
When I first moved to the Seattle area from ever-sunny Los Angeles, more than a few people recommended getting a light therapy box for my first fall/winter. Being prone to depression, I knew my body would be craving the light come September. At first, it might be strange to bathe your face in blue light, but your body and mind will thank you! Need tips on which light box to get? Check out this article on the Mayo Clinic site. And of course, it’s always a good idea to check with your doctor to see if a light box would work for you.
2. Go outside and play.
Take a walk around the block. Hike your favorite trail with a friend. Even it’s overcast, not only will you be getting more light than if you remain indoors, you will be moving your body and getting some exercise. Spend at least 30 minutes per day outdoors to reap the benefits. If you can, go outside at noon, when the sun is at its highest. Is it raining? Put on your favorite pair of rain boots, grab an umbrella and slosh through the rain. After a quick trek in the rain, returning to your warm home or apartment will feel even better!
3. Celebrate a fall tradition.
My favorite thing about fall are the changing leaves. The colors. The shedding of leaves. Even raking leaves is something I look forward too. Another added bonus? I take some of my best photographs during fall! My daughters loves throwing the leaves and jumping in piles of leaves. That’s when I get joyful and natural photos – no stiff smiles or poses. What is one thing you LOVE about fall? Is it planning your Halloween costume? Your favorite drink returning to your favorite cafe? Cozying up to a warm fire? Focus on the joy of the season. Don’t really love anything about fall? Well, now’s a good time to discover one!
4. Be still.
Meditation and mindfulness practices are wonderful to do anytime of the year. And the benefits are awesome! Reduced stress and anxiety, increased sense of inner peace and improved overall health are some of the proven rewards of being still. From Transcendental Meditation (which is what I practice) to guided meditation to mindfulness to yoga, slowing down and getting centered is a great way to reconnect with your body and mind. And fall is a great time to pick up the practice.
Bringing some serenity to your home.