Chicago Home and Lifestyles – End of Summer Blues

Fall is my favorite time of year, but I hear so many of my friends and colleagues comment on how sad it is that summer is almost over! I know that many parts of the country have been horribly hot and dry, so maybe in those places people are a little happier to see summer end. Around the Midwest we have had a wonderful summer weatherwise with only a few very hot stretches. But seasonal depression can be a real thing for many people so here are some ways to cope.

Recognize that this is a minor disturbance that you can get over, but you do need to acknowledge your feelings. Treat yourself as you would a friend. Don’t belittle yourself. Treat yourself a little more nicely now. Go get a massage, buy yourself something nice or just any activity that makes you feel good. 

There might be a specific reason to feel anxious around this time of year. Perhaps you have put off all that going-back-to-school organizing. Shopping, carpools and class schedules. Just getting started with these logistics can snap you out of your doldrums. Maybe you just got back from vacation and dread going back to a job you really dislike. Even if it is something like your job that you might not be able to change right now, it helps to at least acknowledge the source of the problem.

Then again, it might just be something you can’t pinpoint. We can’t always blame our bad moods on something. So, if there is nothing you can put your finger on, don’t waste time ruminating on it. Just say to yourself, “Yeah, I get this way every year at this time”. 

Think of something coming soon that you love. It could be Halloween, Thanksgiving, college football, or just a pumpkin spiced latte. Whatever it is, it is something to look forward to and keeps the larger picture in mind. Remember, this too shall pass. 

Of course, all the usual advice applies here as with other mental health issues. Exercise and spend time outdoors. Eat a healthy diet. Spend time with friends and family. Stay off social media, all these people that seem to have perfect lives are just as messed up as we are. 

So, the best advice is to realize we have a problem and either change our circumstances or deal with the short down time. It is a good idea to seek professional advice if the doldrums last more than a week or so or if it really incapacitates you. Only you can tell if this is the case. But knowing that mental health is as important as physical health is a good first step. 

Kathleen Weaver-Zech and Dean’s Team Chicago