During the pandemic I sent a monthly ‘Emotional Health’ email newsletter. I stopped sending it once the the acute phase of the pandemic was over, but I have had many people ask if I would restart–so here it is! Each newsletter will briefly address a topic that I think will interest and educate you. I hope you enjoy it and will want to forward it to anyone that might benefit. However, if you would rather not receive it any more, please unsubscribe below–I won’t be insulted!
In this issue, I want to chat about the transitional period of summer to winter–otherwise known as fall. I find that fall is quite a polarizing season–some people strongly dislike it because it marks the end of the fun of summer, while others love ‘sweater weather’. Psychologically, fall is a complex season–I see a real uptick in stress and anxiety levels in kids, teens and adults. The sudden and intense increase of work, school, and busy schedules hits hard post-Labor Day. Many people are overwhelmed before they adjust. The dark mornings and dark evenings can also impact emotional health–even if you’re not diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Fall actually also marks the beginning of the holiday season–which, informally, starts with Halloween. For many, there is intense social pressure associated with Halloween, long before the ‘big’ holidays–worries that you (or your child) may not be included in invitations. Others don’t feel as excited about Halloween as many people do, which can make you feel left out. And still others find Halloween too creepy to be fun. In fact, a worn out social battery can start long before Christmas and New Year’s Eve, which can be exhausting.
Recognizing these feelings in yourself or your child can be helpful so you can make beneficial changes:
- This is a good time to assess whether schedules are too busy and may need adjusting. Reduce extracurriculars or non-essential activities if you are feeling overwhelmed.
- Plan outdoor activities during daylight hours, so your body can absorb as much Vitamin D as possible from the sun. This can decrease the risk for depression during the darker months.
- Pay attention to how you feel, and to the behavior of your family members. If someone seems unusually sad or anxious, has trouble sleeping or is ‘out of sorts’, recognize that it may be related to the fall shift. Talk about it, and, if necessary, seek professional help.
- Accept that Halloween can look different for each person. For example, some people love trick-or-treating and parties but others dread them. Reducing stress means allowing each adult and child mark Halloween in a way that is comfortable for them.
Thanks for reading!