Fall. I love it and I hate it. Fall is a beautiful season with a lot of things that I like – colorful leaves, crisp air, firepits, apple pies, cozy sweaters, and lazy nights. But fall is also sad – less daylight, more grey skies, and breezes carrying melancholy memories. Fall has just barely begun and I’m already starting feel the depression creep in. The fall melancholy is settling faster than the cool weather.
This isn’t new, but I don’t like it and I don’t want to let it take over. As I’ve expressed before, depression isn’t something we choose. But when it does hit, we can choose to fight it. So I’ve been thinking of a few things that might help keep my depression in check and instead enjoy the good things of the season.
Find some cheerful music
While “Fall Mood” music is pretty and certainly does bring in the autumn vibes, most of it is rather melancholy. If you listen to music a lot as I do, that will regularly usher in sad feelings. Don’t need. So I’m going to challenge myself to find some new music that is more cheerful. I may also try playing piano more, actually engaging in music rather than passively letting it pour unwanted emotions on me. Speaking of piano…
Bring back something old
We all have at least some good memories growing up, right? So why not bring back an activity that you have good memories from? Whether is specific to fall or not, bringing back something you used to enjoy could be a really great way to incorporate some fun into the season. When my little sister was hanging out at my house yesterday, we got to talking about favorite piano pieces from Chopin, Schubert, and Debussy. It’s been a long time since I’ve played – or even thought about – those pieces and how much I loved playing them.
I admit, it’s actually be hard to play the last few years, as I’ve been so confused about my identity. I know that sounds strange, but maybe you can relate. My parent’s divorce a couple years ago really shook my foundation. Even though I was married at the time, I was still forming a new foundation as a new family unit with my husband. So when my childhood foundation started crumbling, I really had an identity crisis.
Every time I played piano, I felt like it was a part of the person I used to be. I felt lost, and piano was a part of that lost person. But I’ve gone through a lot of healing since then. Now I can appreciate that piano was – and still is – a part of me that I love. So I’m going to bring that back and enjoy the heck out of something that I really do love.
Deal with the dark
Okay. We all know it: a lack of light + depression = more depression. The long summer days are starting disappear. Soon mornings will be dark and evenings will be dark. Normally, I try to ignore this, but I shouldn’t. A lack of light really perpetuates feelings of sadness. I need to be more intentional about keeping the lights on.
- Put lights on a timer to be on when you get up in the morning and when you come home from work/school/outings
- Hang string lights
- Set up some new lamps or utilize ones you already have (consider daylight bulbs)
Decorating for fall? Choose bright, colorful, fun decor.
Confession: I love the light, neutral décor trend. I really do. And as much as I want to incorporate that style into my home, it only adds greys and whites to my already grey and white color schemes.
So if I do get any more decorations, they’re going to be colorful! As I’m thinking about it, the modern, Pinterest-style décor that we all drool over, though beautiful, kind of misses the “fun” part of the holidays. So maybe “fun” decorations are more corny and somewhat tacky, but we’ve got to have some fun in our lives, yeah?
Create new memories
Happy. Ones. Fun ones. One reason fall feels more sad than other seasons for me is that I had several bad memories that happened in the fall. Seasonal memories and feelings are a thing. So rather than dwelling on those feelings when they come up, I want to focus on making new memories. Last year we went apple picking with a friend and then spent the rest of the day making delicious apple desserts. It was a fun, stress-free, in the sunshine/daytime activity that is a much more cheerful memory than others that I have.
We don’t always have control over what happens to us. Sometimes sad, hard things will happen. But we shouldn’t continue to live in a negative mindset because of them. They need to be processed and healed and that does take time. But while we work through those hard things, why not plan some things to look forward to?
- Apple picking
- Sunset with a warm blanket and a cup of hot tea or cocoa.
- Pumpkin carving with friends
- Read a new book (or an old favorite)
- Host dinner parties (fancy or not)
- Weekend walks with a warm cup of tea or coffee
- Keep fresh flowers in the house
Take the pressure off
Finally, just like Christmas and Easter and 4th of July, we tend to put more pressure on ourselves because “Fall” is supposed to be a thing. You’d better have perfect décor, do all the pumpkin and apple things, do all the autumn activities. Truthfully, I think we take these things a little too seriously. If you enjoy these things then by all means do them! But don’t fall into the consumer trap that everything has to be “just so” or your holiday or season won’t be enjoyable.
Enjoy the season for what it naturally is, not what culture has made it to be.