How to beat the fall funk

Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park

Fall, a great season filled with festive holidays, football, family and more, happens to have a funky aftertaste.

Fall — otherwise known as autumn — is said to be a time where the days grow shorter, the animals decide to hide and the air bristles with a sharp cold crisp.

And let’s not forget about an occurrence called daylight savings time that shifts the clock back an hour. Daylight savings ended this past Sunday, Nov. 5.

In this season of change it becomes very appealing to isolate. When isolated people can confuse the feelings of being lonely and being alone.

According to AARP, spending too much time on your own increases the risk of suicide for young and old.

That’s why it is very important to take care of mental health and find ways to keep serotonin levels high. Finding solitude while the season is transitioning and catering to mental health is imperative in order to avoid the “fall funk.”

The fall funk is better known as Seasonal Affective Disorder. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration, Seasonal Affective Disorder is when some people experience a significant mood change when the seasons change.

SAD is considered a type of depression that usually occurs during the fall and winter months when there’s less sunlight and the days are shorter.

There are ways to manage SAD  by keeping active, going outside, staying warm and experiencing nature. Fall months tend to be a little harder on college students, especially in Tallahassee with all the distractions of football and nightlife.

To combat this depression the resolution would be to spend more time outside. Suggesting that going outside will conquer depression seems like a stretch but the research conveys that it’s true.

Being outside helps trigger or generate a neurotransmitter called serotonin, which helps generate the function of mood, body, temperature, sleep and many more.

Serotonin is a natural mood stabilizer that has been shown to reduce depression and anxiety.

Healthline claims that when obtaining sunlight there is a special area in the retina which releases serotonin. So just by being outside and looking around, people are able to obtain higher doses of serotonin.

The National Institute of Health reports that “human skin has an inherent serotonergic system that appears capable of generating serotonin.”

Simply going outside and deciding to sun soak could be the difference between a fantastic or a funky fall.

In Tallahassee there are multiple places that provide excellent outdoor experiences.

Twenty minutes from Florida A&M University is Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park. Just down the road is a state protected park which is full of wildlife, natural waters and so much beautiful rippling greenery.

In walking distance of FAMU is Cascades Park, a fine spot for walking with a beautiful waterfall accompanied by city life.

A lesser known location is the Lafayette Heritage Trail Park. It sits right on the edge of the Piney Z Lake. This beautiful location is only 13 minutes away from FAMU and has multiple fingers that allow walkers and runners to experience the water.

This season we will avoid the fall funk and make a fantastic fall going into a wonderful winter.