Dear Maria,

I can’t believe it’s already Labor Day weekend! Where did the summer go? I’m looking ahead to a busy fall, and Christmas will be here before I know it. I used to love this time of year, but these days I start crying just thinking about all the work I have ahead of me. I talked to my husband about it, but he just laughed it off and said things will work out. He doesn’t understand that I’m the one who makes things work out! How can I get back to feeling happy about this time of year?


In a Fall Funk

Dear In a Fall Funk,

four seasons tree“There’s a special kind of lonesome ‘round that ending time of year,” sings Harry Chapin in his Winter Song. The trees may still hold their leaves, but soon we’ll see bright colors and bare limbs. Perhaps a part of you feels a little sad about the change of season? Folks who live in this climate say they love it. Yet, summer turning to fall and winter brings with it a touch of melancholy.

While your heart may seek quiet and rest to contemplate such things, the calendar revs up again with kids returning to school, Halloween displays in the stores, and picking up the work and home projects we put off during the “lazy days of summer.” So, there’s a sad, disconnected space inside. Preparing for the holidays ahead adds overwhelm to the mix. No wonder some tears come to your eyes!

First of all, let yourself off the hook for feeling a little sad. Sure, you’d rather be happy, but I’ve found that sometimes the only path to joy is through a good cry. Set aside some time and mull over your feelings, and cry, laugh, hug yourself through them. Please don’t tell yourself you should feel a certain way. You can write about your feelings, or take a long walk in a beautiful place, or pour out your heart to a trusted friend, or listen to favorite music that touches your soul…or all of the above! Give yourself permission and space to just be. That’ll help recharge your batteries.

smile_hide_overwhelmedRegarding all the work ahead, take a hard look at what you have planned. Assess what’s really important to you and those you love, and who can help. Maybe your kids are a little older and can take on more responsibilities? Maybe your in-laws can host Thanksgiving this year? Talk with your dear husband about your ideas, and make a plan together. Generally speaking, men like to solve problems. Let him help you find a solution to the overwhelm you feel. Lots of planning resources are online; you might try Organized Christmas—they have great ideas! You might also check out my posts about Advent and Christmas. I love the seasons, and do all I can to minimize stress during the holidays. (Click on the Advent and Christmas category to the right on this page.)

Above all, I suggest you do what is important to you and your immediate family and, when in doubt, use the K.I.S.S. Principle. For today, close the door and grab some tissues. Let the sadness go, and you’ll feel lighter. Things will get easier. You’ll find beauty in this ending time of year.


Dear Readers,

Please comment with your tips to beat the blues as the seasons change, and what helps you enjoy the holidays!

In a quandary? Life got you down? Need some perspective? If you’d like to submit a question, click here. I look forward to hearing from you, or “for a friend.” Please add your thoughts, and suggestions in the comments section, below. 

Disclaimer: The advice offered in this column is intended for informational purposes only. The opinions or views expressed in this column are not intended to treat or diagnose; nor are they meant to replace the treatment and care that you may be receiving from a licensed professional, physician or mental health professional. If you have specific concerns or a situation in which you require professional, psychological or medical help, you should consult with an appropriately trained and qualified specialist.  This column, its author, and the publisher are not responsible for the outcome or results of following any advice in any given situation. You, and only you, are completely responsible for your actions. We reserve the right to edit letters for length and clarity, and all comments are moderated.