The transition from summer to fall has always been the hardest for me and I’ve never understood why because fall is my favorite season.

I was feeling a bit down all September, so I really tried to sit in my thoughts to figure out how I can pull myself out of this funk because mental health is important to take care of and should never be overlooked. I’m happy to report that I’m in a much better place now, thankfully. Here’s what I did differently.

Get off of social media.

Instagram is one of my favorite social media platforms, but it does take its toll on me when I’m scrolling through and looking at all of the vacations my friends (mainly acquaintances, if I’m going to be honest) are on. It’s important to remember how curated social media posts and photos are because everything is edited and the best of the best is displayed. You don’t actually know what’s going on behind the camera. A couple that looks happy may have been in a fight all day, or they’re in the middle of the fight and wanted to act like everything is peachy keen to show that off on social media (I’m guilty of doing that). It’s not worth all of the time and energy to feel bad because other people may appear to be doing better things than you. I had to remind myself that the grass is greener on the other side and I should be spending the energy taking care of myself rather than getting upset or annoyed with people on my feed.

Take vitamin D supplements.

Vitamin D is scientifically proven to make you happier, period. I thought I could get away without taking supplements for the summer, but I realized that I was not getting enough sunlight—especially because I work full-time at an office and my desk is far away from a window. I personally like taking the Olly brand vitamin gummies. I noticed a change in my mood right away when I started taking it again, so now I know that even if it’s still sunny and warm outside, vitamin D supplements are still helpful.

Stay in.

I didn’t realize that I kept traveling all summer to escape my problems until I actually had the time to sit beside myself and contemplate why I was unhappy. After reaching these conclusions, I embraced sitting at home and doing the bare minimum on weekends. My problem was that I kept scheduling all of these weekend excursions and I did not take the time to have self-reflection within my space. I’m a Cancer, too, and I don’t always believe in astrology, but I do believe that how I feel in my home is important and it could potentially be because of my zodiac sign. I’ve gone back to exploring my neighborhood and visiting my favorite places and I feel like myself again.

Limit your alcohol intake.

I admittedly drank too much this summer. I must’ve been drinking at least one glass of wine a day—at least. When I was stressed, I would say, “Ugh, I need a drink,” which is absolutely the wrong approach to take. I decided to drastically cut back on my alcohol intake to once a week and I not only felt better mentally, I noticed that I looked less bloated. Alcohol is a depressant and definitely did not help me solve my problems—taking the time to be with my thoughts sober did.

Exercise.

I recently took up running because I’m training for a 5K in October, and it’s been a great outlet for me to blow off steam if I’m stressed. I’ve been running 2-3 times a week and have steadily been improving and it’s been making me feel better. I’ve noticed a difference in my posture, mood, and muscles, and I hope it is something I can keep up with once the 5K is over.

Care less.

I have a problem with overthinking and overanalyzing—it’s something I’ve dealt with for as long as I remember. When I called my mom to vent about a barrage of unnecessary things, she said, “Sam, your problem is that you overthink things. That’s always been your problem.” So I went back to think about why these minor things bothered me so much and realized that I was wasting my time getting angry. Instead, I decided to just focus on how I can make myself happy. Life’s too short to get mad at every little thing.

Be grateful.

I often forget how grateful I should be with everything in my life, and I had to sit down and reflect on it. I have so much to be grateful for and I should never take it for granted. Count your blessings, not your problems—that’s something I need to remind myself more often.

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