When the cooler months start approaching, many naturally drift to their cozy couches and warm blankets on the weekend to ease their oncoming fatigue.
What a large majority of people do not know is that this is an extremely common, real occurrence. According to sleep specialist Dr. Michael Howell, sunlight and seasonal time change has an effect on your sleep and the natural flow of your body.
While for most people these body shifts will go away when they get accustomed to new patterns, some people experience a different form of fall and winter fatigue.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is said to affect around 4 to 6 percent of Americans. Also known as “winter depression,” seasonal affective disorder has a likeness to depression. Those who suffer from SAD experience depression that changes with the seasons.
It typically begins for people in the late fall and lasts through winter, but it can also be different for each individual. Generally speaking, for people who have SAD, mood shifts when cooler, less sunny months come around.
Fall is known as a season that many people love, but for those with seasonal depression, it can be a particularly difficult time.
Moving around and avoiding stagnant behavior can exceedingly help boost the mood of those who struggle with sadness, depression, or even plain boredom.
Instead of cozying up all hours of the weekend, try some of these activities to help move your body and entertain your mind.
1. Apple and Pumpkin Picking
Going apple picking or pumpkin picking has always been known as a basic fall activity, but it exists for a reason.
Going outside and experiencing nature in a way that is different than your daily exposure can be extremely rewarding.
Being able to pick, bring home, and eat or use the produce yourself is exciting for everyone, especially children. It is a carefree, rewarding way to socialize and experience the fall foliage from places other than your windows at home.
Where to go:
Check out this article from Thrillist to see the best places to go apple picking in New Jersey. Check out this article from Town and Country to see the best places for apple picking around New York City.
Check out this article from New Jersey Leisure Guide for the best pumpkin picking in New Jersey.
2. Corn Maze
This type of activity is somewhat similar to pumpkin and apple picking. Though you cannot harvest anything yourself, it is a great way to celebrate the new season.
Corn mazes are particularly exciting if you go with families and small children, because it is active while still remaining fun and somewhat effortless for everyone involved.
You can go through the maze, and often times there are other activities that you can partake in on the farm, like eating doughnuts, drinking cider, or pumpkin and apple picking.
Where to go:
Check out this article from New Jersey Family to see the best corn mazes in New Jersey.
Check out this article from Time Out to see the best corn mazes in New York.
If you are looking for something more active and heart pumping, going hiking is a perfect option that often gets overlooked.
It is a great way to expose yourself to nature and find a sense of appreciation for each season, especially fall.
Where to go:
Check out this article from The Bergen Record’s website to see the best fall hikes in or near northern New Jersey.
Check out this article from Time Out for the best hiking near New York City.
4. Local Markets and Fairs
Going to these markets is an easy way to become engaged in your local community and to help out local farmers and sellers.
You can leisurely walk around while buying fresh produce and well crafted products, and it is more than likely that your town or county will hold specific events like this for the fall season.
Check out your county or town page for specific information regarding these events. Otherwise, check out these general links below.
Where to go:
For a list of all fairs and festivals in New Jersey check out this article from New Jersey Family.
For a list of farmers’ markets in New Jersey check out this article from Edible Jersey.
5. Get in the Kitchen
If you do not want to leave your house much, but you want to do something somewhat active and highly engaging, try to get more active in your kitchen.
Cooking or baking for yourself provides a level of satisfaction that is hard to deny. Try cooking something seasonal and get to know your local produce and ingredients. This could double with a trip to your local market, and you could get inspired to cook with whatever you find there.
To help get you started, below is a delicious fall recipe from Naturalvert that features sweet potato and apples.
Sweet Potato and Apple Crisp with Naturalvert Granola
1 large Sweet Potato (preference)
1 large (or 2 small) Granny Smith or Honey Crisp Apple
4 tsp. Lemon Juice
¼ cup Brown Sugar
½ tsp. Cinnamon
1 pinch Pink Salt
1 ½ tsp. Tapioca Flour
½ cup Brown Sugar
½ cup Naturalvert’s Original Granola, divided in half
1/3 cup of Vegan Butter (melted)
1 pinch Pink Salt
¼ cup Crushed Pecans (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F degrees.
2. Peel the potato and apple making sure to remove the outer layer.
3. Cut the potato and apple into dices so that it is fine and uniform.
4. In a medium sized bowl, add all of the filling ingredients (lemon juice, brown sugar, tapioca, cinnamon, and salt) and stir. Add in the potato and apple pieces and toss until they are evenly coated in the mixture.
5. Pour the filling into a baking dish (I used 8x4).
6. In a small bowl mix together all of the topping ingredients (brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, nuts (if using), vegan butter, and ¼ cup of the Naturalvert granola) and toss until the melted butter has saturated all of the dry ingredients and has a wet sand consistency.
7. Evenly disperse the topping mixture on your filled baking dish, coating all of the potatoes and apples so that no pieces show.
8. Sprinkle the remaining Naturalvert granola toppings on top of the dish (make sure the granola is a bit fine to give it a nice crust).
9. Bake in the oven for 55-65 minutes or until the top is crispy, but not burnt.
For more recipe inspiration, check out the other articles from Naturalvert’s blog, or try using websites like Pinterest, Food 52, or larger publications like Bon Appetit, Food and Wine, or Mind Body Green.