You can combat autumn angst
Published 2:52 pm, Monday, September 16, 2013
It's almost officially autumn and this is great news for many self-proclaimed "Fallophiles." These folks look forward with anticipation to the crisp air, glorious colors, pumpkin picking, apple cider and all of the other sensory delights we associate with this time of year.
Truth be told, however, many of us feel a bit depressed, anxious and overwhelmed as summer draws to a close. There are myriad reasons for this. Here are a few:
Summer provides a kind of mental and emotional hiatus from our problems be they financial, career, relationship or other. With our return from vacation -- literally or figuratively -- these concerns raise their ugly heads once again.
We are back to business as usual. Work, school, meetings and projects are in full swing and we often feel a sense of inordinate pressure to gear up. As kids, most of us were sad when summer came to a close and school started up once again. Memories of autumns past remain with us as we experience the sights, sounds, smell and feel of the season.
Many of us are affected by the relative loss of sunlight that begins in the fall. It can cause us to feel sad, tired or anxious and leave us unmotivated and disinterested in our usual activities. When this phenomenon is truly disruptive to one's life and mood it's called seasonal affective disorder. Although SAD's origins are still unclear, it's believed that less sunlight causes us to produce less serotonin, a brain chemical that gives us a sense of well-being. Additionally, a change in the balance of the natural hormone melatonin causes a disruption in our sleep/wake cycle.
Are you too bummed to read on? Hang on because there are ways to fight autumn angst. Instead of resisting the fall, here are some ways you can embrace it.
Just because Labor Day has passed, don't assume that summer days are behind us. Very often, the early fall graces us with some Indian summer. Plan to take full advantage of wonderful, warm days that can show up unexpectedly.
Accept that this time of year is typically stressful for you and take that into account when scheduling meetings and other unpleasant responsibilities. Don't get me wrong -- if you don't take care of business, you'll feel even more angst. That said, try not to over-schedule your calendar, realizing that your stamina may not be optimal this time of year.
To combat the unfortunate changes in brain chemistry that fall seems to usher in, plan a lot of fun outdoor activities. Apple picking, hay rides, football games, or planning outdoor time to revel in the stunning foliage are all ways to have fun while perking up your mood and enthusiasm.
Autumn is a time for comfort foods like soups and stews. These one-pot meals make entertaining easy so take this opportunity to invite friends and loved ones for a last-minute meal by the fire.
Autumn may never be your favorite time of year. By considering these simple steps, however, you just might find yourself getting into the spirit of the season more than ever before.