Fall is almost upon us. For many, this is a joyful time, characterized by cozy sweaters, colourful leaves, and pumpkin spice lattes. For others, the transition is a time of grief, representing colder, darker days, and the end of carefree summer. If the change in seasons has left you feeling down, try the following:
- Evaluate your thought process: A core aspect of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is that thoughts affect our moods and behaviours. If you’re continually reflecting on what you’re losing, now that summer is almost behind you, you’ll likely feel regretful and sad. Try your best to consider the opposite: what can you gain? Are there any aspects of fall that give you satisfaction, or could be a source of fun? What are some good things that lie ahead of you? This point leads directly into the next:
- Get organized: Once you identify some positive things you can do in the fall, gather the supplies to make them a reality. For example, if you think going apple picking would be pleasurable, make the plan concrete. Write it on your calendar, and book off the time. In the past, have you enjoyed scrapbooking or baking? Buy the items you need to make your plan into reality.
- Stay connected: Often, as the weather cools down, people have a tendency to hibernate. Whereas summer may have been filled with barbecues and beach outings, you may now be snuggling in front of the TV, binge-watching your favourite shows. If you notice that you’re becoming socially isolated, find a way to connect with friends and family, whether in person, or via video calls. Interacting with others, and sharing your concerns with them, will provide a sense of relief.
- Reflect on the past: This isn’t your first transition from summer to fall, and it likely isn’t the first time you’re feeling its adverse effects. Reflect on what has helped you to cope with the blues in the past, whether that was mindfulness meditation, yoga classes, meeting with a therapist, or journaling. Do your best to commit to incorporating some of these coping methods into your schedule.
As you work through these four points, be gentle with yourself, and practice self-compassion. All transitions can be difficult to navigate, and it’s natural to slip into unhealthy habits when we are stressed. Take some deep breaths – you can do this!