July 14, 2024
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Manage Your September Blues

There is an old Yiddish proverb, “A mentsch tracht und Gott lacht.” Roughly, this translates as “Men plan and God laughs.” Many of you, men and women alike, may feel that this phrase might have been written especially for you. This is especially true when the calendar page turns to perhaps the most dreaded month of all, September—as in “I can’t believe it’s already September!”

When the comparatively pleasant months of May and June arrived, many of us contemplated making serious plans regarding what we would like to accomplish during the upcoming summer season, when the work schedule is often somewhat more relaxed. Some of our plans may have been relatively insignificant, like cleaning out closets, rearranging things in the basement or getting rid of some of the junk in the garage, while some may have involved more grandiose decisions, like leaving a job and starting a new career.

We may have had some seemingly realistic ideas about engaging in a measure of self-improvement, whether intellectually, emotionally or physically, over the course of the summer by, for example, taking an interesting class, becoming more proficient in a foreign language, learning a new computer skill, volunteering for a charitable cause, spending time with friends whom we never seem to be able to get together with, exercising more, working to lose weight and similar such things. We may also have had plans to help those in our family, like teaching a child or grandchild to ride a bike, helping a teenager with his math proficiency as he gets ready for high school or going for a nightly walk with our spouse. The list can go on and on.

Many things to do, but seemingly plenty of time. And yet the unspeakable has now occurred—it is September. When we were young, September was the traditional landmark because it is the month in which school started. We have since been trained to have a “school year” mentality even if we have not set foot in a classroom in decades. Many of us—even if we go to work for most of the summer—thus equate the summer with more freedom and at least some vacation time, and the fall with “back to school,” which means more work, an increase in stress and less free time.

Looking back, we suddenly realize that somehow, things got in the way of our accomplishing all of our personal goals this past summer—some things were in our control and many were beyond our control. But either way, the summer is now indeed over—children of all ages have returned to school, the George Washington Bridge morning traffic has returned, the summer trip taken in July is just a distant memory.

If any of the above resonates with you, it is natural to feel a little melancholy when summer ends. How can you overcome the September blues? To start, when you have a moment and can reflect on your summer, think about the things that you did in fact accomplish rather than the things that you did not get done. If you did get away for a time, think about what you enjoyed while on vacation. The weather should still be relatively warm for the next several few weeks, so try to make some time to get outdoors every day, as it is good for your body and for your mindset. It is possible to incorporate some pleasurable moments even in September!

Having something positive to look forward to can also help elevate your mood. Review your calendar and make a plan for a winter vacation, even if it is to be very brief. Check for inexpensive flights to a warm destination, or, if that does not fit into your schedule or your financial budget, plan to drive to a local destination, just to get away for even a very short while. A change of scenery is a great pick me up. Plan a family outing for October or November to go pumpkin and apple picking—put it on the family calendar, invite friends or extended family members to go with you. If you are a shopper, check out the fall fashions and buy something for fall 2017 in a trendy color like shaded spruce (a beautiful shade of green) or autumn maple (a tawny and russet color).

The beginning of the school year may be jam-packed with activities beyond your regular job, such as getting your children re-acclimated to school and attending back-to-school meetings, to say nothing of making Yom Tov preparations. Try to create a routine for yourself and your family. Do not forfeit sleep because you have too many things to get done. Lack of sleep leads to irritability, poor concentration, decreased productivity and a general feeling of unhappiness. Try to set up a regular bedtime not only for your children, but for yourself as well.

If the junk closet is still calling out to you to purge it of old clothes and shoes, you can always plan to do that on a snow day, and if you don’t get it done then either, summer will be back before you know it! In the big picture of life, the messy garage, the few pounds that you meant to lose but didn’t, and the course that you did not end up taking should not impact your overall life or happiness. While man was planning, God laughed by making the change of seasons—let’s all laugh and enjoy with Him.

By Beth Taubes

 Beth Taubes RN, OCN, CBCN, CHC,CYT, is the owner of Wellness Motivations LLC. She motivates clients of all backgrounds, ages and health conditions to engage in improved self-care through nutritional counseling, fitness training, yoga practice and stress-reduction techniques. Sign up for the “Get Fit for Fall” program. Gift certificates available. Beth can be reached at [email protected] or wellnessmotivationsbt.com.

 

 

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