The transition to fall can bring many things.
Picking juicy red apples and drinking tart cider. Enjoying warm days and cool nights. Beautiful leaves rustling in the wind. Cheering on kids’ soccer games bundled up with a steaming cup of coffee.
Adjusting to new and ever more busy schedules. Feeling pulled in too many directions. Toting kids’ to endless soccer games, and not having time to even pick up a cup of coffee.
Feeling blah. Wanting to just pull the covers over your head. Having no interest in kids’ soccer games, and drinking that cup of coffee just to get through the day.
Fall change can be wonderful, but also overwhelming or really difficult.
You may have to adjust to new school or work routines – and just when you begin to get a hang of them, something changes. It seems there are more decisions for you to make, forms to fill out, and chores to do.
If you live in a temperate climate like we have here in New England, the weather is both changing and unpredictable – you find that you need a coat and wool socks in the morning and shorts and a tee shirt in the afternoon. Kids’ stuffed backpacks make them look like they’re about to hike the Appalachian Trail – and still they come home reporting they forgot something important.
The sun sinks lower and earlier each day. For some people, your mood goes right along with it, and the beginnings of seasonal depression set in. You might have a mild dose of this, or it might be extreme for you.
Even when you enjoy them, transitions are challenging.
You may love fall. Maybe you live in a climate where there isn’t much of a weather change or someplace where the weather’s turning warmer not colder.
Even still, this time of year is typically one of transition. Change requires decision-making. It disrupts routines that keep you going. It takes energy and energy is a precious commodity in the human brain and body.
So, even if you feel great about moving into a new time of year, it will still make demands on you.
Slow down, breathe easier, and find more flow.
In the midst of change and busyness, you can find yourself speeding up to try to fit more in or make sense of things. If, instead, you find ways to pause and slow yourself down, even just a little bit, you can get a better sense of your bearings. Things around you can settle just a bit and you can breathe a little easier.
It’s really important to just notice that you’re in a time of change and transition. Giving yourself permission to make space for the feelings you have about your experience will help you respond to them.
When you allow yourself to pause, you make more room to assess your situation and your needs. You can prioritize and plan and do things in a way that brings more peace. If you love fall, you can enjoy it more. If fall is really hard for you, you can take care of yourself better.
Take care of your body to boost your mood and energize your spirit.
When the seasons shift and your habits change, your body can get short-changed. As it gets colder, you hunch in more and tension builds in your body. A busier schedule leads to less exercise and activity. A general sense of seasonal hibernation leads to an overall hunkering down.
Finding ways to prioritize your body’s well-being can help you to fuel your overall vitality. From enjoying your shower to indulging in comforting but healthful foods to continuing to get outside and move, taking care of your physical self will help you feel more joy and zest.
Whether you want to feel less overwhelmed or just enjoy the season more, let’s take a look at how your body can be a guide to getting through fall.
YOUR BODY KNOWS
Read over the instructions first. Get comfortable, take a few relaxing breaths. Feel free to take as much or little time as you’d like.
1. Check in with your thoughts, feelings and body.
Notice the thoughts you have about fall. You may be aware of specific thoughts (there is so much to do, I feel like I’m running around all the time), or you might just have a sense of the quality of those thoughts (wow, I have a lot of thoughts or my thoughts are running together in a blur).
Notice the emotions you feel about fall. What feels good, challenging, difficult, funny, soft, hard, exciting? Are you surprised by anything you discover
Notice what happens in your body when you think about fall. You may discover tension or relaxation, internal body sensations. You might find your body wants to move – pull back or push forward.
2. Imagine how you want your fall to feel.
You may discover a very specific vision or you may have a less defined sense of the qualities you want to experience. Notice what your body wants — maybe more quiet time to relax and recuperate. Or perhaps it really feels drained and wants more energy. Can you sense into what it would be like for fall to feel good?
3. See if you can find one thing that you might do (or not do) to help make your ideal fall more of a reality.
As you discover something, see if you can imagine what it would be like to try it out. How would it feel to take care of yourself in this way? Can you make a commitment to trying it out?
When fall struggles are too big to handle.
Small changes can go a long way and playing with the ideas and exercise in this article may help you make some shifts that support you in having a happier, healthier fall.
If you really struggle with being overwhelmed at this time of year or if you think you might experience a seasonal depression, you may benefit from professional help.
If you are considering therapy for yourself and you’re interested in a free consultation to see if a creative, body-centered approach to therapy might be right for you, please get in touch.
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The content of this blog is not intended to replace therapy, and does not constitute mental health or professional advice. Reflections and opinions shared should not be construed as specific psychotherapy advice.
© 2015 Annabelle F. Coote
You may freely reprint or share this article. Simply include the following attribution, and if you print online, make the link at the end live:
Article ©2015 Annabelle Coote, Movement Matters, all rights reserved. Reprinted with permission. This article and other resources are available at http://movement-matters.com