Falling Forward

Fall is tough for those of us who are in recovery. 

It can even be tough for those who are recovered, and that is okay. I am putting my guard up for the potential hazards of fall. 

Everyone has their own set of triggers, and winter weather holds a lot for most people. What with the cold weather keeping you indoors more, or the rich treats like pumpkin pie and hot chocolate. During the fall and winter months I have a couple methods to keep myself sane. 

Getting outdoors

Making sure that I get outdoors and away from the usual surroundings is really important to me this time of year. Fresh air can do a whole lot for the body and soul. Getting some exercise outdoors gets your blood pumping and gives your metabolism a little boost to help digest those cookies you indulge in. 

Getting outside for a walk or jog can also be a great way for people to bond. Whenever my boyfriend and I go for a walk outside with our dog Bonnie, it’s such a great time. We get to just talk, enjoy nature and be by ourselves. 

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This is Culler Lake, right by my house, which is one of my favorite Frederick places to walk or go for a run.

Plus, what time of year is more beautiful for a walk outside? None, that’s the answer. The leaves are changing, fallen leaves crunch beneath your feel and the air is crisp and rejuvenating. 

Exercising

This one is pretty much a no-brainer. On a normal basis, I like to take yoga and get to the gym for spin class. But working some exercise in does not have to mean taking an hour out of your day to toil in a sweaty gym. Even getting outside for a 15-minute walk or riding my bike to class makes me feel so much better.

When I am sitting at home with nothing to do I get tempted to just wander into the kitchen to find something to munch on. Yes, I feel good for a bit when I have a snack (that I don’t really need; there is a difference when you are truly hungry and need something to hold you over). But, I feel even better for the rest of the day when I have done something physical, no matter how long or short of a time period I was active for. 

Crafts

Ever heard of art therapy? Some may be skeptical, but it is a real thing that works wonders. Around fall I love fewer things more than I love sitting down to complete a craft. This time of year is perfect for crafting because you can make adorable seasonal decorations for the house, like my Harvest letters pictured below.

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I have got a lot of crafts on my schedule for this winter and fall. Since I just moved into a new house this summer, I realized I need all new Christmas ornaments for myself, so I have plenty of ideas for those, some of which will not cost me one dollar. 

Crafting also allows for one to be social, which is another important thing for sanity. This December I am going to have some girlfriends over to make Christmas ornaments together and I know that we will all have a great time and that it will be a welcome break from the approaching end of the semester. 

Staying Social

Keeping up with family is pretty easy to do this time of year. It seems that most families get together on Thanksgiving and Christmas, which is always one of my favorite things to do. A downside, though, is that most of time, those family gatherings are centered around food.

One suggestion is to see if anyone wants to get outside to go for a walk after Thanksgiving dinner and jump-start that metabolism. I know that after a big meal I always feel yucky and sluggish if I just sit around. This year I am definitely going to try to get as many people as I can to get some fresh air. 

Beyond family gatherings, it is still really important, at least for me, to stay in touch with my friends. Living off campus it is a little tougher for me to be able to find time to hang out with friends; it was much easier last year when my friends lived just down the hall from me. 

To make sure that I see people, I sometimes have to force myself to go out. Being a natural introvert and homebody, it is not fun at the start to force myself into a social situation, but once I am out I always have a good time.

Another way that I keep up with friends is to organize small gatherings at my house, like the craft party that I mentioned. In the fall and winter, I can also have friends over to decorate Christmas cookies or just sit around and watch holiday movies. 

 

Overall, there are many opportunities to stay a couple steps ahead of the winter blues. They may not be apparent at first, and they may not even seem like enough to really make a difference in your mood, but trust me, they will! The biggest thing to keep in mind is just try and put yourself out there. Do not close yourself off from participating in something because you are too scared. Fall is scary for those of us in recovery or who are recovered. Do not let past experiences hold you back from creating new, better ones. 

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