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10 Ways to Beat the "Blahs"

I love Fall. It's my favourite season. However, the blah part comes into effect when the sunshine starts dwindling, the days become shorter, and the sky gets a little cloudier - which, if you are living in Toronto, you will notice has really started to happen. These days make it more difficult to get out of bed, get motivated to do anything productive and can cause your usually vibrant self to feel a little bit off.

So on this beautiful yet overcast Sunday morning, I woke up feeling a little bit blah. I don't exactly know what caused it - perhaps it was the weather, the lack of sleep, or the fact that I had visited neither the gym nor the yoga studio in the last couple of days. Most likely all of the above. In the past, when I felt this way, you might find me sleeping in, turning on Netflix, ordering in and wasting a full morning doing absolutely nothing.

But today, on this beautiful yet overcast Sunday morning, I was determined to deny those tempting, but lazy urges, and decided instead to dedicate the day to researching, experimenting and documenting new ways to "beat the blahs". Get excited, friends! My jam packed day of "beating the blah" activities has been consolidated into a list of the 10 I felt were most effective, so I thought I would share them all with you!

1.) Get Up Early and Get Out of the House - I got up at around 6:30 this morning, but not by choice. A friend of mine was in town visiting and their flight was pretty early, so I was up by default. I do however, typically get up on weekends no later than 7:00 or 8:00 am. I've noticed that this start time tends to get pushed back the closer we get to winter. What I have found when I allow myself to sleep in, is that the later I stay in bed, the more "blah-like" I feel. Nothing gets me feeling energized more than getting up and getting a work-out in or an early morning yoga class. It makes me feel productive and that I'm not wasting my day. Next weekend, if you aren't doing anything in particular and feeling a little bit "blah", set your alarm and force yourself to start your day earlier. Get up early just to grab a coffee from down the street, or go for an early morning run - anything to get you out and moving and less likely to stay curled up in bed or on your couch.

2.) Go For a Walk - I never do this. I consider myself to be fairly active but walking never makes the cut. This morning, I decided to bundle up and to go for a walk. It was funny how silly I felt. Walking for no particular reason. But I honestly felt a little less "blah" and a little more rejuvenated afterwards. I even put my phone on airplane mode so I wouldn't be distracted by any texts or phone calls. I get so annoyed when I see people in the street walk-texting, who expect you to move out of the way for them…until I realized that I do it myself. So during my walk today I was on airplane mode. I took in my surroundings and inhaled the brisk, autumn air. I think the air smells best in the fall. Try it out. 

3.) Read a Book - I reference reading a lot. Only because it's so great. I am recently trying to do more in the evenings before I hit the lights, but today I curled up in my bed, in the middle of the day (I can't remember the last time I did this) lit some candles, wrapped a cozy blanket around myself and dedicated 30 minutes to reading. It was lovely! And had the added benefit of having accomplished something – useful relaxation.

4.) Cut Back on the Sugar - Fall, the official season of the pumpkin-spiced latte. These were my go-to's every weekend, until I learned of the sugar intake of your standard PSL. I won't go into specifics, but you could be averaging anywhere from 24 - 50 grams of sugar pending on the size and the fixings that are included. I may lose some of you at this point, but I find that when I consume heavy beverages with lots of sugar, I feel super shitty, the blahs set in, and, to add insult to injury, I feel bloated for the rest of the afternoon. So I decided to opt for an almond milk latte from another barista down the street.

5.) Do Something Productive - My coach told me that the second we start feeling sad, angry, depressed or for the purpose of this blog post - "blah", that’s when it’s crucially important to do something productive. On the weekend, when we are feeling sad or slightly off, we make excuses to stay in bed until noon or watch Netflix all day. On a week-day, we attribute our mood to something annoying that happened at work that day, sit our butts down in front of the TV when we get home and make the excuse that we had a long day so we deserve to treat ourselves to three episodes of our current go-to television show. Every once in a while, resting/treating yourself is a great idea and at times, exactly what you need, but don't make a regular habit of it. The very worst thing you can do when you find yourself feeling a bit down, is to do nothing at all. It just maintains your downward spiral.  You'll have wasted two hours and you'll still be feeling the blahs. Instead of turning on Netflix, I cleaned up my room and went grocery shopping.

6.) Call a Friend - I called my best friend today. We live across the country from one another and I typically don't see her more than twice a year if I am lucky. She is just as, if not, busier than I am which makes it difficult to keep in touch. Luck was on my side today and we caught each other at a good time. If you are feeling blah and can't put a finger on what is bothering you, I find it helpful just to reach out to a friend and talk. She is a fitness fanatic and a big health nut, so sometimes reaching out to people that lift you up can be a good energy and motivation booster when you are having an off day.

7.) Meditate - I try to meditate in the mornings at around 5:15 am most days. I find it calms my brain before my to-do list starts pouring in and begins stressing me out. On many of the lists I encountered about “Beating the "Blahs", meditation was a reoccurring one. Since I hadn't meditated in the past couple of days, that too, could have attributed to my lousy mood. So in broad daylight, I sat my butt down, turned on a guided meditation - courtesy of the amazing Melissa Ambrosini - and tried to turn my mind off.  Although my mind was still wandering all over the map, I felt more at ease and a little less anxious. If any of you are interested in trying, but don't know how to start, check out the app - "Insight Timer". It provides tons of guided meditations for different moods, lengths and intentions.

8.) Exercise - Like I said, it had been a couple of days since I exercised. If I don't exercise at least once within a 24 hour time-frame, I notice my mood begins to deplete gradually and as my mom likes to call it, the cranky bug juice begins to set in. Sundays are typically my day for a nice, relaxing candlelit yin class but I decided to force myself to go to the gym as well for a quick 30 minute workout. You might be saying, "Well I don't have a gym membership", or "I don't have a car to get to a gym" or "Sunday's are my day to be lazy". Well go for that walk, do an online yoga class in your bedroom or go outside for a run. I can 100% guarantee you will feel better.

9.) Prep Your Food for Tomorrow - This one is easy for me because I am traveling half the week for work, so I only have to cook for two days. But I did begin to start prepping meals for myself ahead of time on Sundays. Look up crock-pot recipes. They are super easy and you can just throw all of the ingredients you need inside and let it cook for itself. I made a vegan chilli last week and it was enough to feed me lunch for the week.

10.) Schedule Your Week Ahead - I do this most Sundays. But on days like today, it was extra important. I love a good list. I like to prepare what I am doing the next day the night before, and for the next week on Sundays. It makes me feel like I am setting myself up for productivity, and if I have a plan in place, it doesn't leave much time for the blahs to sneak in.  And even if they do, I bet checking things off the list will put you in a much better mood. Is there anything you’ve been avoiding in the past week or month? Booking a dental appointment, doing laundry, finishing a book or calling your relative that you were supposed to? Write it on your list, get it done, and as a result feel much better when you strike it off your list .

Do you have any other tips for how you get out of your "Blah" days? I would LOVE to hear them. Or, better yet, let me know if you've ever come across a good pumpkin spiced latte that's not high in sugar.