5 Ways to Avoid the End of Summer Blues

For many, Summer is a time filled with fun, visits with friends and family, vacation days, and soaking up some Vitamin D. If you’ve noticed that your mood improves in the summer, you are not alone. Researchers have found that mental well-being tends to improve in the summer months. So, what can we do to try and retain some of that mental well-being into fall and beyond? Therapist and owner of Holistic Healing Counselling, Shaheen Alarakhia explores 5 ways you can hold on to the best parts of summer well into the fall and winter months.

5 Tools to Avoid the End of Summer Blues

1. Establish an End of Summer Tradition: Moving from summer to fall can feel like it sneaks up on us. One day we are enjoying a backyard bonfire and the next we are bundling up in fall gear. In this way, we can miss the change that is on the forefront and begin to react to our environment instead of being intentional about the change at hand. One way to allow ourselves to be mindfully aware of the change from Summer to Fall each year is to establish an end of Summer tradition. Engaging in the tradition will signal our mind to lean into fall with the intention of creating an environment that is positive for our mental health.

Some ideas of end of summer traditions are:

  • Have an outdoor gratitude gathering with friends/family: You can set a time for your closest people to reflect on what they are grateful for this summer and what their hopes are for the fall.
  • Go on a Nature Walk. As summer wraps up, you can plan a nature walk in your favourite summer spot. Use mindfulness to notice as much of the spot as possible. Ground yourself in your body, noticing what it feels like to be at your favourite nature summer spot. You can use the act of savouring emotion by feeling what it feels like in your body to be somewhere you love and then gently touch that part of your body to savour the experience. For example, you might notice a warmth on your abdomen. You can mindfully draw your attention to your abdomen by placing your hand upon it and taking a couple of deep breaths in, savouring the moment.
  • Get Artsy. You can use art to express gratitude towards the summer you’ve had. Maybe you paint a moment that you want to remember or maybe you go out in nature to grab some leaves to paint and use as stamps on paper. Your art can serve as a reminder of the positive experiences you have had.

2. Transform Your Favourite Summer Activities for the Fall and Winter: Much of what boosts our mental health in the summer can be carried over into the fall and winter. Take time to reflect on what has improved your life over the past couple of months. You might notice that you spent more time than usual outdoors or visiting with friends. You might notice that you took regular vacation days, just to enjoy a day off or catch up on housework. Perhaps you noticed that it was easier to get your steps in each day, as you enjoyed the weather more. As you reflect on the things that you enjoyed about summer, start a list where you create the equivalent for fall or winter.

  • For example, spending time in the sun might equal taking a vitamin D supplement or getting a lamp for light therapy. Noticing that you could move your body easier might mean signing up for a fitness class with a friend through the fall and winter months. Being outdoors more might mean investing in some warm clothes and making sure you still get your green time each week, even if the view is a little less green. By adapting the things about summer that you love to fall and winter activities, you can help reduce some of the end-of-summer blues.

3. Create a Fall or Winter Bucket List: When we think of summer we might think of a bucket list, a list of activities that we want to do throughout the summer months. This can increase our sense of anticipation, adventure, and passion for life. As summer comes to a close, part of looking forward to the fall and winter might be creating a fall and winter bucket list. You can elevate this technique by involving close friends or family. Spending time with others is often an important part of improving our mental health.

Some ideas for fall bucket list activities include: trying a new seasonal recipe, taking a mindfulness walk to enjoy the leaves as they change color, getting your favourite fall drink and sitting out on the patio, sipping spiced cider by a crackling fire. Winter bucket list activities might include: enjoying winter sports such as skiing, skating, or snowshoeing, planning a cozy movie night with friends, and going bowling or other indoor recreational activities. As you plan out things that you can look forward to, consider what impact the activities might have on your mental health. Do they help improve mindfulness? Deepen your connection to others? Allow you to spend time in nature? Come up with at least 5 things for fall and 5 things for winter that you would like to do that might help improve your mental well-being. 

4. Practice Mindful Outdoor Activities: Being outdoors has many benefits for our mental health including a reduction in anxiety, improvements in mood, and an overall increase in well-being. But as the days get cooler, it's normal to start to look indoors for things to do. Planning mindful activities for the fall and winter can be an important part of combating the end-of-summer blues. Take a look at this mindfulness walk we did last winter for inspiration. To plan a mindful outdoor activity use the following steps

  • Pick an activity that you enjoy and can do relatively easily
  • Pick a day/time to engage in that activity with the goal of doing so mindfully
  • When you start your activity, begin by grounding in your senses, what can you hear? What can you see? What do you smell? What can you feel? Try and slow it down to notice things you have not taken the time to notice before. For example, if you are noticing a leaf, how many different things can you notice about it? The way it looks, feels, smells, and sounds. Allow yourself to take the time to notice the little things that we might rush through. By engaging in mindful outdoor activities through the fall and winter, you can renew a sense of adventure that sometimes can be reserved for summer months.

5. Reflect on the Summer’s Best Moments: Take some time to reflect and journal the best moments of your summer. When we reflect upon our gratitude for something, particularly through journaling, we allow ourselves to savour positive experiences we’ve had and emphasize their connections within our brain. This is an important practice because our brains, for survival, tend to hold onto negative experiences more than positive ones. In this way, reflecting on our best moments of the summer gives us the opportunity to reflect in a way that we might not otherwise have.

Try the following prompts for your reflection practice:

  • What were your most memorable moments from this summer?
  • Describe one of those moments in detail, what it was like, who (if anyone) was with you, and how you felt. Try remembering your senses in those moments, what could you smell? See? Feel?
  • Who did you enjoy spending time with this summer? How did you feel spending time with those people?
  • Did you have moments this summer where you felt safe, seen, or happy? What were those moments like? Remember them with as much detail as you can. Stop to notice what it feels like to remember those moments.
  • What were some new things you tried this summer? What did you learn from them?

These reflection points can serve as a way to carry summer’s best moments forward in the coming months. 

 

Conclusion

Summer coming to an end is a difficult transition for many, particularly for our mental health. Our summer days sometimes are filled with more time with friends and family and more time enjoying nature, which have a positive impact on our mental health in general. The shift to cooler weather, back to school, or regular life can lead to a reduction in mood for many but by trying out some of these strategies, you might be able to prevent those end-of-summer blues and set yourself up for an enjoyable fall and winter. If you’re noticing that the end-of-summer blues are sticking around longer than you hope, you don’t have to do it alone. Reach out to us at Holistic Healing Counselling. Our trained therapists will help you get to the roots and move from surviving to thriving.

Welcome to Holistic Healing

Welcome to Holistic Healing

Meet our certified therapists, Adam, Selena, Danielle, and Shaheen. No matter what you want to work on, we have a therapist to help. Our Counsellors focus on helping you feel at ease by allowing you to feel heard and understood. By using a holistic, or whole picture approach, our trained Counsellors can help their patients live a happier, more authentic life. Our therapists offer adult counselling, couples counselling, and adolescent/teen counselling. Interested in learning more? Need to book a session? Contact Us here.

 

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