Fall is definitely here in Ohio – most of our leaves have left the trees and daylight savings has ended. Our nights are a little longer, but morning hits a little sooner. This time of year can be a challenge for several reasons. Some folks struggle with SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder, where they experience depressive symptoms that lift as we move into Spring and Summer. Others might feel increased stress due to the holiday season. Spending time with family can be stressful or it might be the hectic pace and increased number of events and expectations.
Whatever the reason, if you are having a hard time this fall, remember to give yourself some space and some grace. If you are putting your needs for rest, care, fun on the back burner, you might be able to push through with sheer will for a period of time, but eventually there’s a tipping point. Taking care of ourselves isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity. If you need additional support, make sure to communicate what you need to the people that care about you. Asking friends or family to check in on you periodically, or even declining an invitation due to being overloaded shouldn’t be a shame spiral of guilt. Part of reconstructing the “village” mentality (it takes a village is a great concept, right?) is asking your village for help when you need it, rather than going alone.
Seeking connection, care and understanding help make difficult times more tolerable. It isn’t a magic wand that removes SAD symptoms or clears the calendar, but it does help. Other small things that can help include:
Adjusting expectations. If you are overtired or feeling down, you might need to recognize what your current capacity is, and then adjust plans accordingly.
Taking small breaks during the day to do deep breathing, positive visualization, or stretch.
Actively scheduling down time/recharge time in your day. This might look like tea and reading a book, laying down for 30 min, meditation, or chatting with a friend or loved one.
Taking care of basics. Make certain things non-negotiable and try your best: Sleeping, eating, hygiene tasks. These aren’t luxuries.
If you’re having a hard time taking care of basics, or finding peace during the season, please reach out for care. We have therapists with availability who can provide additional support. You can call us at 234-466-6274 or drop us a note on our contact page.