By Angie Chandler, NBC-HWC, NASM-CPT, FLT-vLE
I think it’s fair to say that by the end of August, a good number of us feel a sense of longing for summer to stay. Getting ready to say goodbye to a favorite Michigan season can bring on a sense of loss and other uneasy feelings as time ticks toward a busy autumn. This may be especially true this year due to COVID-19 stress and uncertainty.
Change, in general, can be a challenge—especially when it’s the kind we cannot control. We are naturally inclined to resist change, so deciding to approach this year with a positive attitude and openness to welcome change will keep us on the right path.
Before summer is over, make a list of what is already going well and what you love the most about the season. What are the best ways to keep in touch with friends as life gets busier? How can you bring some of those same scents of summer into your home? What self-care routine will you continue to do daily that served you well all summer long? Take time before the end of the season to savor your summer memories and plan for fall—it’ll make the transition easier when the time comes.
Get into the new season.
Here are just a few ways you can really embrace the next few autumn months.
- Stay true to yourself. If you’re feeling a bit blue, say so. Talk about it with others—they may be feeling the same way.
- Fill in your calendar or write out a vision of an ideal fall season. Find some favorite fall activities that can still be done while safely social distancing, such as apple picking, snacking on donuts and fresh cider or shopping for warmer clothes. Identify ways to move yourself into a more positive way of being with your feelings.
- Change up your workout routine or get started moving more. A fresh exercise routine can be just the thing to help keep a positive attitude and regain calm as the environment transforms. Take a walk or pull weeds in the garden. Getting outdoors is beneficial to our wellbeing and gives us the opportunity to feel and appreciate the change in air temperature, take in the changing colors of the leaves and admire the shapes of the clouds.
- Get interested in the nature of things. Look up some fun facts about the changing seasons. For example: the scientific adjectives of the four calendar-based seasons are vernal for spring, estival for summer, autumnal for autumn and hibernal for winter. How interesting! Perhaps learn about the different ways that animals prepare for seasonal change. Choose topics that are inspiring to you that you’ve always wanted to know more about. Share your knowledge with others.
- Turn this time of change into an opportunity for growth. Be prepared for those down days when you’re already wishing for the next summer season. Give yourself a short lesson on mindfulness. Try a mindfulness app like Headspace or Calm. Or, try journaling about the things you are thankful for this season. Think outside of yourself. Ask others how they manage the changes that come with the season’s modifications and learn from them.
- Give yourself time to adjust. It may take a few weeks to get over the summer blues, but find small joys along the way. Enjoy feeling like you’ve gained an hour on Sunday, November 3 for daylight saving time. Eating right, exercising and feeling well rested will be in your best interest for optimal health and sense of wellbeing during this period.
If what you’re feeling in August and September is more than just the end of summer blues, make sure to review these seven signs of a possible mental health condition. Your health insurance company can also be a resource for mental health help. At Priority Health, we help our members understand what help is available, what their plan will cover and how to find counselors or behavioral health care providers to meet their needs. Log in to your member account or call the number on the back of your member ID card for more information. Not a Priority Health member? Check with your insurance provider. For Michiganders in need of free or low-cost mental health, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has a county map of community mental health service programs.
About the Author: Angela Chandler, NBC-HWC, NASM-CPT, FLT-vLE is a health coach in Priority Health’s Wellness Department and has been a ThinkHealth byline author for 5 years. She holds the 2017 National Board-certification for Health and Wellness Coaches and has worked as a wellcoaches®-certified Health and Wellness professional coach for 8 years. Angie has been a National Academy of Sports Medicine-certified personal trainer for 25 years, and a Firstline Therapy®-lifestyle educator for 8 years. Her professional experiences continue to fuel her passion for writing health and wellness content. Prior to Priority Health, she worked at EHAC, The MAC, and CHCC in Grand Rapids. Angie partners with people in a positive, respectful, non-judgmental and playful way that brings out their best and generates inspiration.