When summer fades, check on your summer-loving friends— they may not be okay.
This is a public service announcement from the other side of the pumpkin-spiced lovers’ universe!
Some of us are barely hanging on here, and others are simply NOT okay this season. No, we aren’t excited about “fall weather,” jackets, scarves, hats, and boots. We are grieving the exit of our friend, summer, and we are not looking forward to the months ahead!
I know I’m not alone in the sentiment that fall is the purgatory of seasons – no longer summer, the days get shorter, and the sunlight starts to fade way too early. Most days, it’s chilly in the morning and then too hot to wear a sweater by lunchtime. Winter is coming, yet we don’t know when and all we can do is wait. But we all know what’s coming … that awful day where we wake up in complete darkness and shudder at the cold as our bare feet hit the bedroom floor.
I won’t be ready whenever it happens. You may think it’s amazingly wonderful. But I don’t want to hear about your excitement. Those of us abstaining from fall enjoyment need some empathy and understanding.
Yes, I’m a grown woman, and I’ve been through the seasons a few decades now, but it hasn’t changed my feelings. I want warm weather, a beach, an opportunity to walk in the park in the warm sun. I want to wear shorts and summer dresses and have sandaled feet as long as possible. I want to eat ice cream and wear my hair big, wild, and free. I don’t want to rake leaves again, only for them to return days later with a vengeance.
People like me are deeply impacted by the lack of sunshine and warmth. We hibernate in a way, going out only when absolutely necessary, wearing way too many layers to create distance between our skin and the cold reality. Our wardrobe becomes necessity, not cuteness. We fight depression in the dry winter months and anxiously wait for any glimpse of spring. We need coffee and donuts and hot cocoa with a hint of Bailey’s. We need you to understand that this isn’t a joy ride for us.
So be kind! Our biological clocks are being disrupted, and it can take some time to adjust … if we’re able to adjust.
Enjoy your pumpkin whatevers, but don’t be offended if we don’t want any. We are just trying to hold it all together until our friend comes back around again. Love us in our dark season of longing, and offer us long warm socks and a hot drink when you can. We’ll gladly accept a daylight lamp as a gift this holiday season, and maybe some vitamin D supplements will do our grumps some good. If a warm day makes a rare appearance before March, take us out and enjoy it with us so we can recharge our batteries.
Check on your friends and loved ones who seem to struggle this time of year. Maybe you’ve noticed the pattern, and they haven’t picked up on it yet. Let them know it’ll be okay and remind them that this change is only temporary. Help them find some light in their life over the next few months. Encourage them to seek help if they just can’t shake the funk.
In all seriousness, my mental health is so important to me. I want to be real about myself and where I am. I have come to appreciate my limits and my challenges. I come prepared this fall season to work through it with patience and a whole lot of grace.
Be an ally to your loved one in need of some fall love and care. They’ll appreciate being seen.