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Summer is Over: What Now?

How to Avoid the Blues of Fall

By Lori Prince, LCSW

Beating the Fall Blues

Fall is approaching, and for many, it means vacation has ended. It's back to school and back to work. For some, it's a time of excitement:

  • Are you feeling rested and rejuvenated after a well-deserved vacation?
  • Is your child starting kindergarten, a new school or leaving for college?

When for others, the fleeting summer brings melancholia or even anxiety.

  • Do you feel deflated and the "vacation feeling" gone when you return to work?
  • Do you feel anxious and worried about changes in your life?

Do you tend to focus on the negatives or the blessings in your life? Where do you see yourself, and most importantly are you resilient? Resiliency is the ability to bounce back and adapt. Being resilient and maintaining a positive attitude can make all the difference in how you handle stress and cope with life.

Think of yourself as having an "emotional" bank account. Stressful events are withdrawals from the account and self care or healthy behaviors represent deposits. Make sure you have plenty in reserves to avoid overdraft!

If you want to improve your resiliency, consider the following suggestions:

Find support. Surround yourself with positive people; recognize how negative people can suck the life out of you. Seek out support from family, friends, spiritual or professional counseling if needed.

Build in self care. Caregivers, especially those who work in healthcare, are often experts at caring for others and put themselves on the bottom of the list. In order to care for others without burning out, you must build in time for yourself. Work/life balance is always important.

Recognize your individual stress-management plan. This can include exercise, spiritual time, relaxation, mini vacations, etc. Alcoholics Anonymous teaches about four warning signs: H.A.L.T (Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired). All are triggers for stress reactions. Recognize these feelings and take action.

Be kind to yourself and try to appreciate your strengths and the many things in life to be grateful for.

— Lori Prince is Director of the Employee Assistance Program at Memorial Healthcare System