There can be a lot of stress at the end of summer. Fall’s coming on fast and that means the extra work of end-of-year campaigns and deadlines, year-end reviews, Election Day, and the holiday season. The blissful summertime quiet of your office is vanishing as your coworkers return from their vacations. And, perhaps your boss has suddenly stopped procrastinating about year-end planning and everyone else is paying for their thumb-twiddling.
The stress of the end of summer is also one of loss. Loss of free-wheeling weekends, warm vacations, and outdoor relaxation and the coming of shorter days, colder everything, and potential cabin fever.
What can you do to make the end-of-summer transition into fall less stressful, more productive, and even fun? Give these tips a try:
Wrap up your summer projects
Even if you didn’t quite finish cleaning your garage or launching that revolutionary open source government app, it’s time to wrap up your summer projects the best you can. Sometimes good enough is better than unfinished.
Take stock of what’s in progress and where you stand. Figure out what projects you can realistically finish, what you can delay into fall, and what you might need to pack up until next summer.
Let it go
Stress is all too real, but negativity and fixating on your stress can keep you from feeling better. Try thinking positive thoughts and being optimistic about the day. If you believe you’re in control, your more likely to actually be in control.
Sharing joy is one way to de-stress. So, thank the people who make things better, rather than focusing on the haters who don’t. Exercise is also a wonderful stress eliminator. You don’t have to be a triathlete. It can be as simple as a mid-day walk with a friend. Try out other effective stress busters from the National Library of Medicine and these tips for coping with stress from the CDC.
If those ideas don’t work and you’re stuck in a stress spiral, don’t hesitate get help from a professional. Sometimes you can’t go it alone.
When you get overwhelmed you actually can become less productive. The best way to deal with the calendar crush is to plan ahead. Make a list of everything you’ve pledged to finish by the end of the year and its due date. Now, sort these tasks by the month in which you need to start working on them. Look at the upcoming month. Can you do it all? If the answer is “AAAAUGH NO!!!!” you have to prioritize.
Put the tasks for the next month in order from most to least important. Take a hard look at the bottom of the list. What can you delegate? What can you drop? What can you delay? Keep cutting tasks until you’re confident you can accomplish it all.
Make the indoors shine
Spring cleaning gets all the attention. Perking up your indoor spaces—both at home and at work—can help overcome the blahs as the sun gets more scarce. Clean the dust bunnies from the corners. Decorate your desk with photos and souvenirs from your cherished summer vacation. Pack away the summer clutter and organize what’s left. Bring in a little mood lighting to help you feel warm and cozy as the days get cooler. Persuade HR to throw an end-of-summer party.
If even after making these changes you still feel persistently sluggish, distracted, anxious, cranky, or depressed, or you’re starting to overeat, you may want to see your doctor about whether you have seasonal affective disorder, and ways to treat it.
Enjoy what waning summer remains
While the tips above will help you beat the end-of-summer stress, don’t drive yourself mad by becoming over ambitious in summer’s final days. Take time to relax whenever you can. Throw one last BBQ or pool party. Enjoy a weekend staycation.
And, just because summer’s over doesn’t mean you can’t have a drink with a tiny umbrella.