How to beat the September Summertime Sadness

August 27th, 2019

Written by Katy Winship

So, the last bank holiday is over, and you’re left feeling a bit flat. You have that feeling of dread that comes with darker nights and colder weather and the thought of the “C word” drawing ever nearer is enough to bring tears to your eyes. Sound familiar? You’re not alone.

The Summertime Sadness is more than just a lyric sung my melancholic songstress Lana Del Rey – it’s a real thing. Even now, many years have passed but the words “Back to School” still strike fear into me. September marks another year down – no more care-free time by the pool, BBQs in the garden and colourful clothing. Instead, a sense of dread that "winter is coming" and the fear that it will last as long as it does in Westeros!

According to Dr. Josh Klapow, clinical psychologist and co-host of the radio show “The Web,” these are commonplace feelings. “Summer is about nostalgia and represents for so many of us a time when things were much more carefree,” he explained. The start of school “signals a time to go back to work. It signals that time is passing us. Kids are getting older, life picks back up.”

Maybe that’s why the Yanks call autumn “fall”, and sometimes it’s difficult to pick ourselves up.

The end of Summer is symbolic of going back to work and the seriousness of life. It can take a while to embrace Autumn as we grieve for the Summer but as Klapow says “This is [just] the process of nostalgia and transition. It will pass as fall kicks in and we adapt to the new schedule.”

September is the new January

It’s important to remember that September also signifies a new beginning and can offer many possibilities. January is notoriously hard to start something new – the cold weather, the need for comfort – oh no! September, however, is your second chance to pick those resolutions up. So, you thought that this year you would have the best Summer ever and last September you probably said to yourself “this time next year I will have accomplished X,Y and Z”. Use this reflective period to put things in perspective and if necessary, give yourself some motivation.

Ask yourself:
a. How bothered are you that you haven’t accomplished these things?
b. What’s stopping you from accomplishing these things now?

Concentrate on something you can get excited by

Finding joy in things whether new or old may be the secret to tackling the Summertime Sadness so here are just a few things that don’t take too much commitment but can have a positive effect on your well-being:

Seeing friends -pick wisely (if you can) and spend time with people who make you feel good, not people that drain you and only talk about their own lives.

Slow down - don’t feel pressure to do everything if you feel tired. If you want to spend a weekend going to bed early and watching movies, then do so. A little bit of self-care can simply mean making sure you are well rested.

Listen to music - singing along to your favourite tunes can boost your mental health. In fact, thereoke (therapeutic karaoke) is becoming an increasingly popular way of relieving stress – just look at its popularity in Japan, a country that’s well known for long stressful working hours.

Mindfulness breathing – practising mindfulness breathing can do wonders for your brain and mental health. Check out some breathing exercises in our burnout blog here

If you’re really struggling and experiencing persistent low mood and lack of motivation then consider talking to a mental health professional or seeking support from organisations such as our 2019 Charity Partner, The Cellar Trust.