September can be hard.
The lazy days of summer are over.
It’s back to school season. You may be sending anxious kids back to school or even going back to school yourself.
Most people are back from vacation, so there are more cars on the road, more people in the stores and it feels a bit apocalyptic (I tried to buy a case of regular water the day after Labour Day, and they were completely sold out; almost every visitor to my London, Ontario office commented on my new snazzy collection of flavoured waters!).
You may be back from a relaxing summer and there is no more vacation time planned for months. Things that you put on your fall to-do list can no longer be avoided.
Things that you hoped would be better after the summer haven’t actually improved.
You are still worrying.
You still feel overwhelmed.
You have been able to keep that burnt out feeling at bay, but it slowly starting to creep in again.
How do you cope with September stress?
1. Acknowledge that this can be a tough transition and set realistic expectations for how you will likely react. All change can be stressful and it is normal to feel overwhelmed when establishing new routines.
2. Don’t over-schedule yourself. The fall is usually the time when new opportunities present themselves; new committees, new projects, new activities. Be selective in the things you sign yourself (or your kids!) up for.
3. Build down-time into your schedule. New routines can be exhausting so ensure that you have blank spots in your calendar. You need time to rest, veg out and recuperate.
4. Increase self-care. When stress levels go up, the level of self-care should go up as well. However, what typically happens is that when stress goes up, self-care goes down and feelings of being overwhelmed increase. Check out the Burnt Out to Blissed Out micro-retreat if you crave a self-care experience.
5. Look for things that are awesome in September; you may love the cooling weather or seeing the leaves slowly start to change colour. One of my absolute favourite things about September is starting to pull out some cooler weather clothing; sweaters, boots, and flannel pyjamas!
If you had hoped that the summer would help you feel less stressed and overwhelmed, and you’re still struggling, that may be a sign that this is more than just September stress. Please feel free to contact me at my London, Ontario counselling practice to see if working with a psychologist could be beneficial.