Here it comes! The end of Daylight Savings Time.
Fall has its obvious drawbacks – The adjustment of falling back an hour to standard time wreaking havoc on our sleep schedule, mornings and evenings getting downright cold, making it harder and harder to venture out of your nice, warm bed.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) may also kick into gear as well as general sadness about the holidays approaching, our unfulfilled expectations for them, or possible fear of the inevitable weight gain in the season of comfort foods.
At the same time, if you’re lucky enough to live somewhere where the leaves are changing, you get to experience a really beautiful time of year. It’s the time for warm drinks, fuzzy sweaters, deliciously cool air, cuddling, football, Halloween fun, pumpkin everything, crackling fires and an overall harmony to life. IF you can rise above that mild sadness in your gut making you feel really anxious, right now.
The good thing is, If you’re struggling with the former and having a hard time appreciating the latter as your body and mind struggle with the change, here are some tips to help you out:
Check your thermostat
Years ago, when the chill entered the air, it also seemed to enter my bones rendering me unable to even want to get out from under the covers so I ended up falling back asleep, making me late to just about everything.
In essence, kind of ruining my day. A change was needed fast! I hate sleeping with the heat on because I wake up feeling dried out, dehydrated and sweaty, but a friend gave me a great suggestion.
Set your thermostat on a program cycle where it kicks on at a certain time to regulate the house to a certain temperature. Set it to come on right before you want to get up every morning. The warm air blasting early in the morning will make you want to get out of bed, if nothing else just to turn the heat down, but it will be warm enough to get up, get moving and to start your day.
Acknowledge it’s a busy time of year and stop spreading yourself thin
It’s school season again so you may be dealing with the stresses of college or, if you’re a parent, trying to keep kids on track with their multiple school schedules, assignments, sports, etc.
The wild abandon of summer is over. Fall is the time people really start focusing on what’s important again. New jobs may be commencing. Many move in the summer so there may be the adjustments of a new home or a new community. We tend to think of spring as the time of beginnings, but autumn is the real season of new beginnings.
Relax, Overachiever. It’s okay to admit you don’t have your sh*t together.
None of us 100% do.
Just acknowledge this is one of the crazy times of year and take it a day at a time. And stop volunteering all your time when you feel like you’re pulling your hair out.
Work out the dread of the holidays ahead of time
Yes, for some people, it’s really that bad. The thought of the impending holidays makes them anxious…months in advance. Instead of focusing on the dread you feel, think about why you feel the dread and how you can combat it early so that you can enjoy the positive aspects of the holidays.
Maybe you dread the holidays because you lost a family member and the loss is felt most strongly during the holiday season. Maybe it will be your first holiday without someone. It could be a divorce or death. Whatever the case, give yourself permission to grieve ahead of time. You don’t want to be blindsided with intense emotion on the holiday. Reflect happily on the good times and get any negative or sad emotions out beforehand.
It’s also possible your dread is because getting together with your family means fighting, horrible comments about your weight, job/lack of, degree, relationship status, child status, appearance, hobbies, politics, etc. – Well, I see a future ‘Smarter Loving’ article coming to help you through all this. But for now, take a good look at who is criticizing you. Maybe they are Harvard Law scholars, but they are horrible people if they use the holidays as the time to criticize your life choices instead of joining in the spirit of togetherness.
Money issues can also suck all the life and joy out of the holidays for anyone. Maybe you’re dreading the holidays because you just lost a job and don’t have two pennies to rub together and all you can think about are people buying you gifts…and sitting there with tears in your eyes thanking them, feeling like a jerk. It gets worse if you have kids and can’t afford gifts. But as it’s been said many times – Holidays are about more than the material. Look for the life lessons and make it a learning experience.
Stop focusing on all the things you wish you had
Duh, right? This is applicable all year long. However, in the fall, traditional emphasis on the season sometimes fills us with longing. Possibly for someone to share the supposed “joy” with. We might be third-wheeling it with our best friend and his new girlfriend watching them canoodle on the stupid hay ride they insisted you go on with them (What…Did they need an audience?) feeling like the biggest loser on the planet. Meanwhile, coming home to turn on the TV means hearing blaring jewelry commercials about how it’s the season of love. Barf.
The holidays scream out from the television, movies, social media, etc. that this is the time for family and we have no close family and nowhere to go on the holidays.
For so many, this is the Season of Loneliness. Make a resolution to yourself that you’ll work on yourself. If you don’t have a love, maybe you’ll find one or learn contentment in solitude. If you don’t have a family, you’ll be more outgoing and create a family of friends. Define why you wanted all these things to begin with, if it still applies and use this new season to make your first steps towards them.
Seriously, it’s getting cold. Too damn cold to do anything. Where is there to go? What is there to do? You just don’t feel well. You must be coming down with something…and you’re saying this every day.
Maybe it’s the time to revamp your diet, your exercise and your lifestyle. Fall is a great time for taking long walks. Get out and breathe in some of the crisp, fall air and you’ll see why all those other “normal” people out there rave so much about fall. You will come back inside feeling invigorated and full of energy. The fall air is healing in so many ways. This is coming from someone lazier than you could ever be, I promise.
A word to the wise, though, this is a time of year that may bring new issues for allergy sufferers. If you’re feeling crappy, this could be another underlying reason why.
It’s also easy to fall into rapid weight gain in fall. It’s the time for sweets, eating carbs, total crap, and stepping on the scale and panicking. Care for your body every day. It’s also when cold and flu season starts its gentle ramp up. Prepare yourself now with great nutrition and exercise to lessen the severity in the coming months.
Get more sunlight!
Researchers have found that much of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) has to do with the declining exposure to natural sunlight in the winter months. If you work an office job between 8-5, getting sunlight is almost a joke. Your lunch breaks will become of vital importance. Actually, you can kill two birds with one stone. If you can get out and walk on your lunch break, do it! You will get in your sunlight and your exercise.
You’re extremely lucky if you were able to get an office with windows that allow you some sunlight exposure during the day. My old boss got a chuckle out of me when I moved my desk right next to the window so I could work while getting loads of beneficial Vitamin D. He laughed, but I was happy…and a happy employee is a productive one.
If getting out during working hours is an impossible scenario for you, it may be wise to invest in a light therapy lamp and some Vitamin D3.
Yes, Wednesday Addams. I’m talking to you. Because I’m one of you. I can sulk by myself for days, but I’m changing, evolving and doing better because I’m just not happy being my moody, grumpy self anymore. Yeah, being the slightly gothic chick who hung back in the shadows hating on the happy people used to be my look, too. But now my former existence seems so…buzzkill. I’ve made friends with some happy people.
Yeah, we don’t always see eye-to-eye. They see the world as this wonderful, beautiful place and I look around in fear of absolutely everything and see too much grief and horror in the world. I wonder how the hell they do it. But I’m learning. I’m learning for my own survival.
Being alone is not good for you. Your health and happiness decline when you are locked in the cell of your own head, overthinking everything, watching everyone else blissfully unaware of all there is out there to fear. Take the hand of some positive people. Let them show you their light. You can still wear all black if you want to, but your heart can be bathed in sunshine. Get out there. Talk. Jump in. Find your tribe. Spend these cooler months discovering the world before the summer comes around again to melt your eyeliner.