Late September to early October, I’m always caught off guard a bit by our family’s grumpiness and lack of motivation in just about everything. It happens almost every year. After the hectic beginning full of new and different, school settles into a predictable somewhat dreary routine. The same-ness of each week wears on everyone until they feel . . . blah. We call it “The Slumps.” Good news, though, the end of the calendar year brings a variety of fun and change—everything from the weather to costumes to vacations. In the meantime, here are five ways to shake out “The Slumps.”

Add to Your Normal Routine with Something Fun

This idea can really take you anywhere once you get started. The possibilities are endless.  Find a way to make the “same-ness” of the day different in some way. Make a playlist with fun new songs to play in the car or in the afternoon. Put something different into your kids’ lunches—a treat or an unusual type of food for them to share with their friends (if it’s allowed at their school). Rearrange their room. Take new routes to school and time which is the fastest. It doesn’t take much to bring a smile into something we do all the time.

Blow Off Something More or Less Unimportant

It’s so important to teach kids responsibility towards their commitments. Chance are, you do this a lot and they know they have to follow through—which makes it even more impactful when you give them permission to skip it. You know what they can actually miss without consequence. Perhaps it’s soccer practice or homework that can wait until tomorrow. Maybe it’s a pass from a daily chore. Anything that serves as a reminder that they aren’t in jail and we aren’t just throwing tasks at them.

Plan an Out-of-the-Box Activity

With that bit of free time that came with blowing something off, you might want to extend the impact further by planning something completely away from your normal. If you can get a night out of town that would definitely make an impact. Otherwise, you can plan things like going to an event like a concert, packing up dinner and headed outside to watch the sunset while you eat, or taking a tour to find the best doughnuts in town!

Work Some Nature into Your Plan

Studies prove what we already know intuitively. Nature is awesome. There’s something about being outside with trees or water or sky that simply hits the reset button of our minds. Whatever plans you make, try to do some of it outside. You can take a hike, plant flowers to bring the beauty in with you, or chart constellations in the night sky.

Practice Good Self-Care

It seems like a no brainer, but at times when our motivation slips, our healthy habits tend to slip with it. It’s easy to let bedtime skew later and later or to pass on a day of exercise because you really don’t feel like going. This is the time when you need to maintain the positive in your day-to-day life. Make sure you are taking care of yourself, too!

However you tackle the October slumps, keep in mind, they are short-lived. From the end of October all the way into the New Year, busy and fun await. You just need to find a way to get there joyfully!