As the end of summer quickly approaches, it is perfectly normal to feel sad and disappointed. It makes total sense if your just think about it for a moment. Long, sunshine filled days are gradually replaced by short days with dark mornings and dark evenings. Vacations are over. Kids go back to school. Traffic gets worse. The weather gets cooler, reminding us that winter is just around the corner. Although there is still plenty of time to enjoy being outdoors, we all know that those days are numbered. As we enter this season of transition, how can we embrace it instead of falling into melancholy?
Work on Letting Go
Imagine that you have just finished eating dinner at a barbecue. There is an empty plate in your hands with little bits of the delicious summer foods that are now in your belly. On the table, you see slices of pumpkin pie sitting on individual plates. What do you have to do before you can pick up one of those plates? That’s right! You would need to discard your dinner plate. I suppose you could hold on to the dinner plate, but then you would have to awkwardly hold on to both plates while trying to enjoy your pie. You might even drop the pie by accident.
Sometimes, we need to let go of good experiences that have now passed in order to “free our hands” to grab on to new experiences. If we are unwilling to let go, we are often left with empty memories, wishing that the subjects of those memories would magically become reality again. If we can be willing to let go, we can open up to new opportunities and possibilities. First, see if you can acknowledge your disappointment and sadness that summer is now over. Next, willingly say goodbye in the service of opening up to all the things that fall has to offer.
Make Some Plans
Now that your “hands are free,” how are you going to keep them occupied? There are all sorts of fall-related activities that can be fun and empowering. Make a list of these activities and start planning to do them. Try to identify a wide range of activities from things that can don’t take much effort to things that are a bit more involved. For example, you might schedule a time to enjoy a warm beverage with a friend (less involved) as well as planning a long drive to watch the leaves changing color (a little more involved).
Consciously Adjust Routines
When the days gets shorter, it can feel like nature is forcing us to change the ways we spend our time. Rather than fighting with these natural changes, why not be proactive and plan changes to your routine ahead of time? Sit down with your smart phone or old fashioned paper planner and plot out your daily schedule. Look for opportunities to create balance between obligations and self-care. If you know that certain parts of the day or week might be tough, plan an activity that you enjoy and helps you to unwind. If you are given new responsibilities at work or school, break them down into smaller steps, add them to a “to do” list, and put each item on the schedule. Then, make sure you follow your schedule! You will find yourself adjusting to your “new normal” in no time.
Ask for Help
Change is hard for everyone. Be sure to ask other people in your life for help if you are having trouble managing your end of summer blues. Of course, if you find that your regular sources of support aren’t enough, contact us. We would be happy to help you find a way to get back on track.