But this is the year that changes.
Maybe it’s the fact that being cold the second you walk outside just sucks. Maybe it’s the fact that getting into a freezing cold car knowing it’s going to take 10 minutes to warm up but your drive is only 5 minutes long sucks. Maybe the chill in the air is too much of a reminder of how far summer is again. Maybe the looming winter reminds you that you’re another year older. Maybe, just maybe, there is more to fall than pumpkins and Halloween, and it doesn’t feel so fun anymore.
Because I have never been properly diagnosed, I don’t want to say that I explicitly have seasonal depression, so I will instead reiterate the title of this piece because, when the air turns cold, so do I. So, perhaps I don’t have an answer on paper, but I do know how I feel around this time of year, and it certainly isn’t as happy as everyone else.
Fall is supposed to be a time of change, you know, the weather is changing, so are the leaves, and the workload has naturally increased by this time of the semester. But it’s so fun, right? Halloween, fall activities, pumpkin farms, pumpkin carving, PUMPKIN SPICE and all the wonderfully beautiful sceneries that become the background to everyday life. I do enjoy fall. A nice chilly morning warming up to a sunny day where I can sit outside and feel the peace in the air while debating starting a new book (I never do). Something about fall feels like an opportunity, and I think that’s the part of me that wants to embrace change as a chance to reinvent and reevaluate the path I am on.
Despite all these seemingly good and happy times, I always, without fail, find myself more sad than usual. Little things start to bother me more than they ever did in the summer, and I get so down on myself. Maybe it’s really as simple as losing my summer tan, but maybe it’s something deeper, like my expectations for fall and the impending holidays are far too high. Honestly, the only thing I know for sure is that something about fall brings me down despite my best efforts to be excited about it. Instead of wallowing on a Sunday night, and overthinking as I go to bed, I will instead share the things I am doing this fall to not feel as down as I normally do.
1. BEING SOCIAL!
I am typically a pretty high-stress person when it comes to school, so letting go and choosing to go out with friends or see family can sometimes feel more worrying than relaxing. That being said, spending quality time with those you love, and being in the moment with them, really helps to remember how fun and spontaneous life can be. I have to remind myself that life is more than a checklist, and surrounding myself with good people helps me remember.
2. fINDING THINGS TO LOOK FORWARD TO
This goes along with point 1 in a way because sometimes the fun things to look forward to are social events. I like to fill my weekends and nights with activities for me. Sometimes it’s as simple as a long shower and an episode of my favorite TV show, or sometimes it’s a costume party as Halloween grows near. Regardless of how big or small the thing is, it matters to me and has me motivated to get through the rough times.
3. iT’S A BAD TIME NOT A BAD DAY
I used to, and sometimes still do, get caught up in the mindset that if one or a few things go wrong, it’s a bad day, it’s a bad week, or a bad month. To combat this thinking, because boy can it get depressing quick, I try to always look at the good parts of my day, the things I am proud of myself for, or the things I’m grateful for before I hyper-focus on the things that upset me or I wish I could change. Life is not going to go as planned, and sometimes that sucks, but it can bring goodness to your life as well. I am writing this piece on a Sunday night, reflecting on how my weekend plans shaped into something so different than what I planned, but it was amazingly fun, and exactly what I needed.
No matter what time of year it is, everyone can get sad, and sometimes the sadness feels a bit heavier than what we are used to carrying. Remember there are always ways to get help if you can’t or don’t want to have to navigate those feelings alone. No shame in that. If it just happens to hit you a little harder every now and again, I hope you remember that you’re not the only one and that the happiness it feels like everyone else has is with you too. Maybe you have to create it, or maybe you have to look in new places to find it. Maybe when the air turns cold, so do I, but not all the time, just some.