By Dr. Sanam Hafeez, Neuropsychologist
For many people, the end of summertime means back to school and back to the grind. Companies launch into their 4th quarter which means the summer slack off season is done and it’s time to get serious as we close out the end of the year. Between the dip in temperatures, shorter days, work and family demands, it’s no wonder people feel sad to part with summer. We connected with Dr. Sanam Hafeez, Neuropsychologist and Teaching Faculty at Columbia University in New York City to explain why people get the post summer blues. We also offer some things to do to boost the mood as we say goodbye to summer and hello to fall.
- Ease into the routine.
A lot of people expect to hit the ground running immediately after Labour Day. Allow yourself a solid two weeks to a full month to get back into the swing of your fall routine. You can’t expect to go from a more relaxed summer mindset into a rushed pace. “A lot of people make the mistake of going from summer ease to fall hustle, and they end up running themselves down, leading to a cold. You want to get a realistic handle on the fall routine and make decisions about how much to take on. Planning ahead helps,” explains Dr. Hafeez.
- Go outside and play anyway!
The fall means a break in humidity and beautiful crisp air. It’s common to go from 80 degree temperatures to mid 60’s within a month. You can still enjoy your deck, barbecuing, reading in a lounge chair, having a catch in the yard, or going for a walk in nature. “Get outdoors and avoid spending weekends in hibernation which only makes people feel lethargic and depressed,” advises Dr. Hafeez, who has been featured on national TV talking about Seasonal Affective Disorder.
- Get things done that you put off during summer.
Before the weather takes a turn for the cold and holiday hustle ensues, take advantage of the cooler fall temperatures by tending to things like auto repairs, home projects, pet care, medical visits, and financial assessments. “When we make a decision to accomplish things we’ve put off and then follow through, we feel more in control and this reduces stress,” explains Dr. Hafeez. Something as simple as taking a few hours to tidy up the yard, clean out the garage or get rid of clothes can elevate the mood.
- Recap the summer with a look back at photos and gratitude.
At the end of each season, it’s such a great ritual to do a recap. Look back into your social media feeds for the photos posted and memories made. Consider creating a summer photo album with highlights from vacations, pool days, family barbecues, weddings and any other fun that was had.
- Start brainstorming next summer’s vacation and must-do activities.
“You really want to move into a forward-thinking mindset instead of longing for the past. This summer is over and another one will come. Brainstorming with the family on where to go next, is a fun way to get excited about what’s ahead. When we think about possibilities it elevates our mood, so grab an issue of a travel magazine and get inspired,” suggests Dr. Hafeez.
- When in doubt, get a makeover!
Nothing elevates the mood more than a day of primping and prepping. When we are putting the summer clothes away and pulling out the fall clothes we get to edit our wardrobes and make a list of the new things we want to add. Shopping for new clothes isn’t just limited to the kids heading back to school. A new hair color or style can also mark the start of a new season in a fun new way. “Self-care isn’t limited to meditation, juicing and massages. Finding that perfect fall jacket, shoes, new shades of cosmetics can do a lot to lift spirits,” Dr. Hafeez shares.
About the Doctor:
Dr. Sanam Hafeez, PsyD, is a NYC based licensed clinical psychologist, teaching faculty member at the prestigious Columbia University Teacher’s College and the founder and Clinical Director of Comprehensive Consultation Psychological Services, P.C. a neuropsychological, developmental and educational center in Manhattan and Queens. Dr. Hafeez masterfully applies her years of experience connecting psychological implications to address some of today’s common issues such as body image, social media addiction, relationships, workplace stress, parenting and psychopathology (bipolar, schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, etc…). In addition, Dr. Hafeez works with individuals who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), learning disabilities, attention and memory problems, and abuse. Dr. Hafeez often shares her credible expertise to various news outlets in New York City and frequently appears on CNN and Dr.Oz. Connect with her via Instagram @drsanamhafeez or www.comprehendthemind.com