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Image / Self / Advice

5 ways to beat the end of summer blues


By Sarah Finnan
14th Sep 2023
5 ways to beat the end of summer blues

Sad summer's over? Join the club...

Every year when summer ends, my mood plummets. The change in seasons hits me particularly hard – I’m a sunshine girl at heart and though I love Christmas and will jump at any opportunity to rewatch Gilmore Girls, I can’t help but feel utterly hopeless at the prospect of dark evenings and cold weather. 

As the start of a new academic year, there can be a certain pressure associated with September (even if you’re not a student anymore). More often than not, that pressure is self-inflicted – everyone is so preoccupied with their own issues that I guarantee absolutely no one is looking at what you’re doing. And yet, I can’t help but feel like I’m not doing enough. Maybe I should be journaling and waking up early to do yoga and going to the gym for three hours at a time… and thus the ‘everyone is girlbossing harder than I am’ spiral begins. 

It’s for this very reason that I don’t make resolutions in January or in September either; neither month is a time to girlboss. 

So, what should one do to beat the end of summer blues? Here are a few tips – suffice to say, always consult your doctor or healthcare professional if you think you may be suffering from something more serious like seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

Move your body 

First things first, get out in nature and move your body. The vast majority of Irish people are deficient in Vitamin D – the HSE advises taking a Vitamin D supplement from October to early March to remedy this – which helps the body absorb calcium and minerals to build stronger bones, muscles, and teeth. Recent research suggests that it also plays a significant role in preventing and treating various health issues, reducing stress and improving the production of “feel good” hormones such as serotonin. 

With both daylight and sunshine in short supply during autumn/winter, incorporating some outside time into your day is key – be that in the form of a pre-work walk, a lunchtime coffee stroll or a weekend hike. You’ll feel all the better for it, promise. 

Get to bed early

Sleep is often something most of us neglect but establishing a good bedtime routine is of the utmost importance when it comes to tackling the end of summer scaries.

Once you’ve got the first step down, getting to bed earlier should come easily – doing something active will help tire you out so you’ll actually want to sleep. If you’re still struggling to close your eyes and actually keep them shut, then it’s time to think about decreasing your screen time, turning off the big light (lamps and low lighting only in the evening, you savages!) and limiting caffeine intake. Pick yourself up a good book and commit to reading a few pages a night, before long, you won’t even miss the daily scroll fest… that’s what I’m telling myself anyway.

Make plans

Making plans when it’s dark and gloomy out can be a real chore but having something to look forward to is a great way to keep spirits up. Make good on your promises to catch up with pals you haven’t seen in weeks and suggest a monthly come dine with me/book club/cinema date… you get the idea. Plant the seed, see who’s interested, then set a date – it’s more likely to make it out of the group chat if you put a timeframe on it. 

Lean into self-care

It’s ok to feel a bit glum but looking after yourself is priority number one (accidental rhyming, I swear). Focus on eating well, and drinking lots of water, then add in a few daily/nightly/weekly rituals that allow you to take some time for yourself. Romanticise your evening skincare routine by lighting candles and playing gentle music as you gua sha your face. Yes, I know it sounds like a palaver but it makes it feel like something special to look forward to. We’re all in such a rush to get things done these days but slowing down and enjoying the small things can really help.

Clear out the clutter 

Everyone extols the virtues of a good spring clean but an autumn clearout can be just as satisfying. Your wardrobe is a good place to start. Before packing your summer clothes away for the winter, lay them all out on your bed and go through each item piece by piece – anything you don’t like, haven’t worn or that doesn’t fit should be swapped, sold on Depop or given to siblings/friends/the charity shop. Not only will you have loads of room for all your faux fur coats and chunky knits, but you’ll feel so much lighter for having shed the excess. A belongings detox is a great solution to overwhelm from my experience. 

If all else fails, it might be time to book a sunny getaway…

Photography via Instagram.