The signs that summer is ending, and fall is on the way are all around us…kids are going back to school, pumpkin-spiced everything is starting to pop up and Halloween stuff is already hitting the shelves. While the transition from summer to fall is celebrated for its warm colors and cozy vibes, for some people, the end of summer can trigger a range of emotions collectively known as the end-of-summer blues or August anxiety. This phenomenon, similar to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), marks a period of adjustment as we say goodbye to the carefree days of summer and prepare for the changing seasons.
While not as widely discussed as its winter counterpart, the end-of-summer blues can have a significant impact on our emotional well-being. There are several factors that contribute to this emotional response. The end of summer signifies a return to a structured routines which can be challenging after months of relaxed schedules. The impending start of school, work and other commitments can trigger anxiety about the demands of the upcoming season. As daylight hours start diminishing, our exposure to sunlight decreases which can affect our mood and energy levels. And then there is the social transition as we shift from outdoor activities and vacations to more indoor and solitary activities which may lead to a sense of isolation. Then there are those summer expectations – we often make big plans for the summer and it’s easy to feel let down if we didn’t complete all of them and conversely, sad that it’s over if we did.
But if you are experiencing the end-of-summer blues or August anxiety, there are some things that can make the transition easier.
- Create an End-of-Summer Tradition. Whether it’s a photo album with all of your summer memories, a goodbye summer weekend getaway or an end-of-summer bash with friends and family, start a yearly tradition not only signifies the end of summer, but gives you a chance to pause, reflect and prepare to move forward to the next season.
- Embrace Mindfulness. Practice techniques to stay present and grateful. Try to focus on the beauty of the changing seasons rather than dwelling on what’s ending.
- Create Meaningful Routines. As schedules fill up, try incorporating the positive aspects of summer into your daily routine that you don’t want to lose like morning walks, outdoor workouts or evening stargazing.
- Stay Active. Engage in physical activities you enjoy. Go for a hike, take a bike ride or practice yoga. Exercise can release endorphins and positively impact your mood.
- Connect with Nature. Yes, the days are getting shorter but that doesn’t mean you can’t spend time outdoors. Make an effort to get outdoors, even if it’s just a short walk in a park or garden.
- Social Connections. Initiate plans or gatherings with friends and loved ones to counter feelings of isolation. Plan indoor activities that bring people together like a game night or movie marathon.
- Set Goals. Channel your energy into setting new goals or learning a new skill. This can give you a sense of purpose or excitement for the upcoming season.
As summer's warm embrace gradually loosens and makes way for autumn's colorful transformation, it's natural to experience a range of emotions associated with the end-of-summer blues. By understanding the triggers, acknowledging your feelings, and adopting coping strategies, you can stay positive and navigate the transition with grace. Don’t let the end-of-summer blues get you down!
*If your end-of-summer blues evolve into persistent sadness or anxiety, consider speaking with a mental health professional for guidance and support.