fall · fitness · Seasonal sadness

Resources for coping with “fall dread”

A friend posted recently that he’s struggling with the feeling of fall in the air. Cooler days and less sunlight have him thinking of fleeing for parts south starting in October, returning in April. He asked for advice. What do his friends do to make winter less terrible, more bearable?

I’ve been writing about September sadness for awhile now. And I’ve also written about some of the solutions I’ve found. See here and here.

For me, as it starts to feel more like fall out there, I’ve been having those thoughts too. Thursday’s forecast is for a high of 15 and an overnight low of 4. That’s the official first day of fall so it seems appropriate.

Here’s four things I’ve been thinking about.

First, I try not to avoid anticipatory upset. This is the sunny part of fall. There’s still lots of time for getting outside. It’s beautiful colours and not yet really short days. There’s a lot to appreciate about early pre-November fall and I’m trying to be here for it.

Second, I’m leaning into the fall sadness a bit. It’s not a horrible emotion. Maybe it’s okay to make room for a season that’s a little bit sad. If summer is all bright light and sunshine and laughter, maybe it’s okay that fall feels different.

Third, and while it seems obvious, can sometimes feel challenging, get outside. Enjoy the daylight we do have. I’m hoping my new knee and I can go for lunch hour walks. It’s okay to work in the evening and enjoy the outdoors while there’s light.

Fourth, I’m also looking for things to do that aren’t options in the busy summer. That might be language learning, reading fiction, meditation, cooking, and writing.

There’s some good advice in this piece, How to Cope With Fall Anxiety

And I like the Guardian’s list too.

I’ve been using the Ten Percent Happier App for meditation and I see that they too have a section on fall dread.

I may have to go investigate.

What advice do you have to offer?

2 thoughts on “Resources for coping with “fall dread”

  1. Maybe it’s because I’m old, so this is the fall of life, but fall is my favorite time. (Truth be told, I took camping vacations in September 40 years ago, too.) Life begins to slow, there is time to appreciate the beauty of the changing world, we can appreciate the plant world’s need to rest and prepare for the next growing season. We literally reap the harvest of the work of spring and summer. The crisp clarity of the morning light, the golden light of late afternoon, the cool nights that facilitate sleep, a cup of coffee in the woods when you climb out of the tent…maybe there is a bit of melancholy and nostalgia in all of those sensations.

    1. Diminishing sunlight affects a lot of people, inescapably, I think, and might be a source of this melancholy. It doesn’t affect me — probably the opposite. Summer makes me feel pressured and tired. It always has. This season that’s supposed to be so GREAT and so much FUN never was to me. Maybe it’s the heat (to which I don’t respond well). I don’t know, but when the days get shorter and I can see the arrival of winter not too far away, I’m relieved.

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