Preparing for Gloomy Days

ocean sunset coulds dusk evening sea sun

Though mental health doesn’t take vacation days like school does, there’s just something about the end of summer that makes times a little more difficult. Of course, the back-to-school struggles are always real, but it could also be how it’s the final stretch of intense heat and humidity, and we’ve almost literally reached our boiling point. There’s the pressure to take advantage of those last few full days of freedom, or the anticipatory anxiety of the 180 that’s taking place in our schedules.

These are all reasons for the end of summer blues, but perhaps a significant reason is how these all come with the realization that the weather is changing, almost going through a whiplash in what it wants to be, and – to quote Jon Snow – “winter is coming.” While it can also be present in the summer, seasonal affective disorder is more infamously known for its onset during the colder, gloomier times of the year.

Transitions are never easy, and now that we’re currently in one of the more intense ones, here are a few things to keep in mind to make it a little easier:

  1. Remember that summer isn’t over: technically autumn doesn’t start until September 22nd. Labor Day may be over, but it’s the unofficial end of summer. The days are still long, and though most of them are spent inside school, the sun’s still out for outdoor activities like sports or lounging at the park with a book and an iced coffee.
  2. Think about the benefits of autumn: sweater weather! Halloween is 50 days away! The leaves changing color, walking ten feet outside without breaking out into a sweat, holiday season is near – the list doesn’t end. Each season comes with their own set of great things about them, and preparing for what comes with autumn will help now that the great things about summer are coming to an end.
  3. Organize: spring cleaning isn’t for another six months, but now’s also a perfect time to change things up to coincide with the changing weather. Now that school is currently in session, the routine has started to settle in. Giving binders, planners, and computers a quick refresher to adjust to what fits the class can make the upcoming assignments a little less daunting. Now’s also the time to start transitioning shorts and t-shirts out and replacing them with scarves and jeans.
  4. Summer will come back: if summer is your favorite season and you absolutely hate the colder seasons, just remember that they’re all cyclical. Time flies, and before you know it, the long, lazy days of summer will be back.

Do you like autumn? Are you doing anything, or have you done anything, to adjust now that summer’s ending and school is in session?

 

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Hi! The moderator is a research team member with a background in behavioral health. We're here to help answer your questions and stimulate some great conversation! We don't provide therapy and are not available 24-7 so please if you are in crisis, go to our crisis page: https://sova.pitt.edu/i-need-help-now We look forward to talking to you!

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