Sooooo stressful!

“How to Deal with The Stress of Fall”

From my inbox:

Dear Free-Range Kids:

Fall started last week and all the signs of the season are in the air. Temperatures are starting to cool off, fall festivals are in full swing, college football is on the weekends, and retailers are pushing for the holidays with sale items. While the fall is a fun time, it is also stressful time for many. From the pressure of another year rapidly ending to worries about the upcoming holidays to the change in the clock, many people find fall to be a stressful and depressing time. Why is this? How can people deal with the stress of the fall?

Able to discuss this and more is [name], a leading therapist. She can discuss in detail why so many people find the fall to be a stressful time and offer techniques on dealing with fall stress. Should you be interested in interviewing her on this?

Sincerely, A publicist

To which I replied:
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And if you think the FALL is stressful, imagine the winter, with all ITS holidays — and snow! And the SPRING, with hay fever and Easter and warming temperatures, which mean we have to wear lighter coats! Plus changing the clock AGAIN. And the summer! Ticks and sunburn and the horror of appearing in public in a bathing suit. And then, like a bad penny, here comes our old frenemy FALL,  so stressful because — thanks a lot, Earth — we have to get out our coats again, and lose our tans, and … my, my, my.
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In her book, “Spin Sisters,” Myrna Blyth, the woman who edited Ladies Home Journal for about a hundred years, writes that “stress” is the perfect hook if you want to sell ANYTHING, from bath salts to therapy to pumpkin spice.
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Life IS stressful. No one’s saying it’s a pumpkin spice picnic on Paxil. But being told to look at everyday activities as if they are all anxiety accelerants is an annoying hallmark of our era. And it feels to me as if “stressful” is the spin sister of “dangerous.” Both frame our lives and interactions as something to worry about, or retreat from.
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Reject the exhortations to feel suspicious and sad. Have a happy, wild, fun fall. – L.

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Sooooo stressful!

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32 Responses to “How to Deal with The Stress of Fall”

  1. Backroads October 1, 2017 at 11:41 am #

    Hah! I’m thrilled for fall! Tis my 2nd favorite season after summer (with its heat and water sports and wild school-less kids, oh my!) I plan on going for hikes in the dangerous woods and bringing my kids to the pumpkin patch/corn maze with the sheet of metal they prop up super high on haystacks and dare to call a slide (the kids love it).

  2. Karen H October 1, 2017 at 11:48 am #

    This was couched in silly terms, but psychiatrists have a big uptick in calls in September and students suicide rates soar. Bipolar people like me need to pay attention to how they are doing at the end of summer. People take more anti anxiety meds in the fall, too, even if they are not affected by the beginning of the school year.

    I don’t know why this is, but it is a real thing.

  3. Alanna Mozzer October 1, 2017 at 12:12 pm #

    Good answer! Did this therapist forget that most parents feel less stressed in fall because the kids are back in school?

  4. Curt Abbott October 1, 2017 at 12:55 pm #

    Fall is my second favorite season (behind summer) because HALLOWEEN! Halloween is my favorite holiday, although my idea of a successful Halloween would make helicopter parents’ heads explode. My whole front yard is decorated with scary stuff and its not a success unless there’s asst least three kids that want no part of coming to the front door for candy!

  5. bluebird of bitterness October 1, 2017 at 1:00 pm #

    Speaking only for myself, my stress levels decrease when fall arrives — primarily because I detest hot, humid weather and insanely high electrical bills. (I’m also not fond of sunburn, mosquitos, and wood ticks.) The cooler weather, the ability to open all the windows and let in the fresh air, the gorgeous fall colors, and the shorter days and longer nights suit me just fine. However, I understand that for people who suffer from seasonal affective disorder, this time of year can be difficult. And even though I escaped from school for good more than forty years ago, I can still recall how stressful it was, so I sympathize with anyone who is suffering from school-related stress. I also understand that, for some inexplicable reason, some people absolutely love summer, and they become depressed when it ends. So there are many possible explanations for why this time of year leaves some people feeling more stressed out than usual.

  6. Theresa Hall October 1, 2017 at 2:22 pm #

    Life is always crazy. You just have deal with gall’s craziness like you do the crazy stuff that happens the rest of the year. Trust me it will do no one anyone good to worry too much. Sometimes you can prepare for the craziness and sometimes you just gotta roll with it.

  7. Bmj2k October 1, 2017 at 3:00 pm #

    What about the stress of unsolicited emails fearmongering about how stressful almost anything can be?

  8. Robin October 1, 2017 at 3:13 pm #

    “The complete guide to avoiding stress” by An Author

    Avoid being born.

    The end

  9. pentamom October 1, 2017 at 3:28 pm #

    I realize that people have genuine challenges that induce stress, not to mention specific mental or emotional health challenges that make it harder, and I’m not discounting that at all.

    BUT, for most people who don’t have those issues, and aren’t going through particularly difficult times, the biggest key to reducing stress is not to measure everything against some perfect situation where everything goes your way and life is calm. Embrace the fact that life is hectic and full of ups and downs. That doesn’t make everything easier, but it does lessen the kind of “unnecessary” stress that’s triggered by, “Oh, this thing just went crazy, it’s time to be stressed about it.”

    Part of that would be binning articles like the above that tell you how stressed you should be by the fact that the year is ending. What even is that?

  10. Dee October 1, 2017 at 3:36 pm #

    I actually do feel more stressed in fall. While some may think parents eagerly look forward to school starting up, for some of us that really is stressful. The relentless forms to fill out. The increasingly insane homework loads. The overall higher expectations of all kids to be perfect, get As, do sports/clubs/activities. Ugh. Yes, stress increases in fall! Give me summer even with the heat.

  11. MR October 1, 2017 at 4:01 pm #

    I always found fall very stressful because of back to school. Summer and the quality and quantity time with my kids was ending. My kids would be tired and stressed and grumpy and it was always rushing in the rat race again. Forms to fill out and endless registration fees, book fees, new shoes, and 3 kids birthdays all make finaces harder then too.

    My kids are homeschooled now so we enjoy getting back to our books and learning together. Much less stressful so we can enjoy the cooler days and the turning leaves. Not all parents enjoy back to school. I for one, always wanted to huck shoes at the tv when those ads came on with the parents celebrating back to school as the happiest time of the year!

  12. Donna October 1, 2017 at 4:39 pm #

    The one plus of starting school in the middle of the summer … no fall stress?

    Fall is my favorite season. The holidays can be stressful, but there is a lot of fall before the holidays.

  13. Emily October 1, 2017 at 4:53 pm #

    Actually, when I was in high school and university, I loved fall. I was (mostly) a good student, and I had friends at school, I participated in extra-curricular activities, and of course, back to school meant back to MUSIC. I’d still practice at home during the summers, but it just wasn’t the same as actually getting to go to music class, or band/wind ensemble/chamber ensemble/orchestra rehearsal (for those of you who don’t know, I started playing the clarinet when I was fourteen, in grade nine), or private lessons, or choir, or……yeah. It also meant back to theory, but I could deal, because I was going back to a place with people who were like me, and who understood me. I’d get sad at the END of the school year, because home wasn’t like that. It also meant back to student government, back to fun things like spirit days and dances in high school, and various special events at university (concerts, plays, my friends’ recitals, fun rez/campus events, choir shows in December and in the spring), and just, in general, back to my friends. Summer was boring–it was the time that I’d spend waiting around for life to start up again; maybe earning some money working at my parents’ law office (or, one of their lawyer friends’ offices one summer), and, it wasn’t terrible, but I didn’t exactly look forward to it.

  14. Michelle October 1, 2017 at 5:49 pm #

    Hate fall? Move to Houston. We don’t have fall here. Just Summer Part 2.

  15. James October 1, 2017 at 7:53 pm #

    I knew farmers that were stressed in the fall–mostly because it was the harvest and therefore make-or-break time for them. They dealt with it by getting up before dawn, and working until well after nightfall.

    For folks in offices, the change in seasons really doesn’t affect life that much. Anyone who thinks that the end of the year is particularly stressful has never had to deal with quarterly/monthly quotas….

  16. Workshop October 1, 2017 at 8:01 pm #

    Stress, yeah. Let me see – I’ve had friends and coworkers stuck in the middle of a desert, surrounded by people who possibly want to kill them, some of whom are hiding explosives on their bodies. In the middle of heat I can only imagine, they’re expected to carry out their orders that might include killing other humans, which is likely the MOST stressful thing a human can do.

    Me? I have to deal with the kids going back to school and the wife transitioning to night shift.

    I suppose it’s all about perspective, but some people really need to be put into a truely stressful situation and then come back and complain about “Oh no, the holidays are almost here . . . .”`

  17. lollipoplover October 1, 2017 at 8:03 pm #

    How to deal with the stress of fall?
    1. Have children rake all of the leaves in yard
    2. Make a large pile then jump in leaves
    3. Take pictures to remind you that life is not about stress, but the simple joys in life

  18. SKL October 1, 2017 at 8:27 pm #

    Fall is my favorite season, always has been. You can go for a walk without sweating or freezing, enjoying the smells and sounds and colors of the drying leaves.

    Life is stressful. Well, having 2 tween girls is freaking stressful. 😛 Getting older is stressful. It’s also a natural part of life, and I tend to prefer to let nature happen and just do my best to enjoy (or at least live through) the ride. 😛

  19. Dora October 1, 2017 at 8:32 pm #

    Also very stressful: breathing, if you start thinking/worrying about the bacteria, germs, pollution and other poisons we inhale daily, the best option might be to stop doing it

  20. SKL October 1, 2017 at 8:48 pm #

    Well I agree that the shortening of the days does impact moods. I guess there probably are ways to mitigate the effects. For example, capitalize on the good things (e.g. it’s a lot easier to sleep compared to summer).

    My kids do have “issues” around this time of year, every year. I kind of know why, and it’s stuff we can’t do anything about anyway, other than try to take care of ourselves.

    For us, back-to-school is a mixed bag. Our summers are extremely busy with different plans and schedules every day, all day. Plus “getting ready for school” can be more stressful than actually going to school. School starts and our life gets into a routine, for the most part (though the many days off / birthdays / holidays do throw that off). Kids generally thrive on routine, and mine are no exception to that. We do have the stresses of heavy homework nights and hard tests and girl drama at school etc. Come May, I’ll be saying that I look forward to shaking off the stress of grades and such. But a week or two into summer, ugh … the logistical nightmares around all the different summer camps (messing with my work schedule) … travel, sunburns, bug bites, etc. etc. etc. Come fall I welcome the school scene back with open arms.

  21. steve bowes October 1, 2017 at 11:54 pm #

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-MtJoQ8Jc9M

  22. Donald October 2, 2017 at 12:22 am #

    “Sometimes you can prepare for the craziness and sometimes you just gotta roll with it.”

    I COULDN’T AGREE MORE! That’s one of the bigger reasons for my blog. Not only am I trying to understand where crazy comes from, I’m trying to develop how to recognize craziness within and steps to remedy the situation through Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. (CBT)

    http://www.psychologyinpictures.com/

    http://content.screencast.com/users/dchristensen777/folders/1%20temp/media/d812ae2e-646e-49e6-8ff6-e190ecbe0d79/117.jpg

  23. SanityAnyone? October 2, 2017 at 12:45 am #

    To be quite honest, fall is getting more stressful every year, but not for trivial reasons. I’ve begun to dread things that I normally love to do, because it’s simply TOO MUCH. There is almost no spontaneity for any of us, no down-time, no head-space. We’ve tried not to over-schedule, but the calendar is absolutely over-packed. I will sometimes cry or get a sick feeling when I add an item to the calendar or look at the day’s schedule.

    If you or a friend are feeling overwhelmed, please don’t brush it off. Don’t just say “this is perfectly normal, you’ll miss it when it’s gone.” That might be true, but your friend probably had to get pretty far over the edge to ask for help. Let them know that what they are feeling is valid. Talk to them about trimming their schedule. Learn breathing and grounding exercises together. Definitely seek the help of a professional if it’s become scary or debilitating. Sometimes TOO MUCH (even of a good thing) is enough of a problem all by itself, and it takes a skilled person to help you get right. In my opinion, TOO MUCH is one of the many diseases of our culture of excess that includes obesity, diabetes, heart disease, clutter, materialism, over-scheduling of adults and kids and much more.

    Here’s something I love lately: A day with nothing planned when the kids’ friends drift in and out of the house playing and inside and outside until late at night, a day when I can say yes to a last-minute invite from a friend to walk or have a meal. It’s nice to just do what comes naturally sometimes.

  24. Miriam October 2, 2017 at 7:08 am #

    Haha…
    I do realize some people do get anxieties in the fall, I don’t mean to disrespect, but, yes. Sometimes over-acknowledging is creating more stress. We can make a big deal out if a scraped knee (oh, poor baby!) and see even more tears. Or kiss the knee, put a band-aid, and send the kids back to play (I usually contemplate if we need to amputate. That puts a smile on my daughter’s face, as she says “no, we don’t!”).
    I don’t like being acknowledged too much for my difficulties, it makes me feel helpless. And anxiety is related to safety. We’re trying to lead a perfect life, with perfect kids, and no accidents. And it’s impossible. So we get stressed. Feeling a bit more control over our lives with extra safety rules can make us feel less anxious. Holidays are the same, they would be less stressful if we expected less of ourselves. Not to be the perfect host, not cook everything, not the prettiest table…

  25. Nicole R. October 2, 2017 at 8:49 am #

    Eh, I’m usually ready for the next season by the time it gets here. Each one has it’s own plusses and minuses. For fall, I do hate how busy September is, and the earlier darkness does do a number on my energy levels…but I love the gorgeous foliage, sweatshirt weather, and pumpkin spice everything. I think the key is in having realistic expectations.

  26. Beancounter Eric October 2, 2017 at 10:38 am #

    lollipoplover

    Just put your lollipop down before jumping into a pile of leaves. Ruins a good lollipop!!

  27. Lightbright October 2, 2017 at 11:20 am #

    It made my morning to read this! 😀

  28. Steve N October 2, 2017 at 12:32 pm #

    Fall is great. Except for the leaf blowers. ARGH! People ruin otherwise beautiful fall days with those damn leaf blowers. And they’ll stand over one stuck leaf forever, trying to blow it away, instead of just bending over to pick it up — or better yet just leave it there and let nature take over. Pick up a rake and get some exercise. That’s my rant for the day. But hey, fall is great.

  29. lollipoplover October 2, 2017 at 4:50 pm #

    “Pick up a rake and get some exercise.”

    OR hand a rake or two and a tarp to your kids.

    Enjoy some hot spiced cider sitting by the outdoor fire pit while your little stress-filled cherubs clear the leaves in your yard and their supposed anxiety. Ah, feeling less stressed just thinking about it!

    @Beancounter Eric- Yes, don’t want to mix a delicious lollipop with crunchy leaves. Same for homemade carmel apples.
    I love fall.

  30. A Reader October 2, 2017 at 6:53 pm #

    Not gonna lie, if you’re an observant Jew, fall is pretty freaking stressful! 4 holidays in 3 weeks is a lot. Nonetheless, Sukkot is my favorite holiday, so yeah, I’m a giant ball of stress right now trying to get the shopping and cooking done and helping my husband build the sukkah, but I’m also very much looking forward to it.

  31. Beth October 3, 2017 at 8:52 am #

    Can I just say that a pumpkin spice picnic on Paxil sounds heavenly? Especially if it’s at the place in the photo.

  32. John B. October 3, 2017 at 12:48 pm #

    Way back in the 70s when I was a student, I dreaded the Fall. Because after a summer employed as a lifeguard and weekly pool staff parties, it was now back to exams and term papers due. Now toward the end of July and first part of August, all of my summer pool staff co-workers could not wait for the upcoming school year. They got so excited about being reunited with their friends from the previous school year and cruising down the campus mall. Of course, I also looked forward to seeing my friends and playing another year in the college band BUT the pressures of school outweighed all that in my mind. Don’t know if anyone here can relate to that mindset but I certainly was in the minority back then. School just stressed me out.

    Now that I’ve been out of school for 36 years, Fall is my favorite time of the year! The weather cools down and it’s great sleeping weather. I look forward to spending my weekends watching football and talking about it at work. There’s Fall festivals and hay rides and the anticipation of Halloween and Thanksgiving followed by Christmas. Autumn is a great time of year here in the South as it was for me in the Midwest!