How to Combat the End of Summer Slump

Advice on the August Blues
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Anyone else feeling that end of summer slump? Not “slump” in terms of being lazy. Quite the opposite actually! For me – work, travel, and life have been at a Mario Andretti-like pace. It’s not about acting sluggish, it’s about feeling sluggish. Are you experiencing the same thing?

So what exactly is a “summer slump,” and why have some of us been feeling it so hard lately?

What is the End of Summer Slump?

After doing some research, I learned that end of summer slump is a very real thing. In fact, it’s also been referred to the “August blues,” a phenomenon that affects people as summer draws to an end.

Alexa, play “Summertime Sadness” please. 🙂

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Clinical psychologist, Joshua Klapow explains, “For many people, the end of summer slump creates a feeling of funk, a feeling of down, a feeling of sadness.” He goes on to share the sadness comes from realizing that most of the year is already behind us.

Think about it – Target’s Halloween shop is already live and kicking, and Starbucks is releasing Pumpkin Spice items earlier than ever. We get it, Starbucks. PSL’s are the new “August” vibe. Sigh.

My End of Summer Slump

Overall, I attribute many “summer slump” emotions to the fact that the season is quickly coming to an end. I’ve really enjoyed the past several months – especially spending more time with B and working remotely from home. Plus, our July trip to Nantucket rejuvenated my soul. ACK has this strange way of altering my mindset and priorities.

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Without getting overly meta here, this past year has truly shifted by internal compass towards a completely new direction. I’m seeing the world in a very different way, and it’s making me want to shift some aspects of life, relationships, work, and beyond. Don’t worry – Bob and I are stronger than ever! 🙂 If anything, my faith and our marriage have been the best and most stabilizing forces in the midst of all of this unexpected year and a half.

Beyond being sad that the warm weather will soon be behind us, the pandemic has intensified the August blues feelings since so much life has/will change in a condensed period of time. For example, I’ve grown accustom to a fully remote work lifestyle. Not only have I been more productive than ever, I’ve loved the freedom and flexibility. I’m sad to move back to a hybrid model very soon. Plus, my travel schedule is ramping up big time, and it’s very tough to leave Bob.

Moreover, we have important home projects hanging over our heads. The process has taken much longer than expected, and we just desperately want to get things in a good place. Plus, the idea of balancing home construction with work is daunting to say the least.

Above all, these emotions are tied to the consistent, heartbreaking news both near and far. Our world is so broken. Are your hearts and minds exhausted like mine? In so many ways, it feels like we’re going through the stages of grief in our communities. There’s sadness for the lost time, denial about what’s next, anger about the pandemic and hyper-polarized state of our union, and acceptance what the present (and future) holds.

Solutions to the End of Summer Slump

How do we manage the fear of summer ending (or as I’ll now call it, “FOSE”- Fear Of Summer Ending)? How do we process these feelings and find ways to cope with the transition period? After all, FOSE makes the average Sunday scaries feel like a walk in the park.

To be clear, I’m not a professionally trained counselor nor psychologist. Therefore, please know this is not formal medical advice or anything. Instead, I’m just sharing a few things that have worked for me and tips that I’ve read that have helped me in this season of life.

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TIP #1: Beauty Sleep

Lately, I’ve been struggling to get a solid eight hours of sleep. I find myself consistently staying up late just thinking about my to-do list for the next next, tasks that I want to get to personally, etc. Overall, a lack of sleep attributes to moodiness, exhaustion… the list goes on and on. Therefore, knowing sleep is one of the most important aspects of our life, it’s important to prioritize it. Personally, I’ve tried to turn off the TV sooner, hide my phone in a drawer, and get into a calming end of day rhythm. On nights when I’m really struggling to sleep, I find that CBD is a great option.

TIP #2: Organize Your Home + Office Space

Spring cleaning is a popular annual tradition, but I’m a big proponent of pre-fall cleaning. Keep in mind, the fall and winter tend to be the seasons when you spend more time indoors due to the cooler weather. Why not make sure it’s organized? Plus, clean spaces help alleviate stress and have even shown to be a mood booster. Fire up some Marie Kondo and spend a weekend or two organizing your space. Take the plunge and donate and/or toss items that you. no longer need. You won’t regret it!

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TIP #3: Use All of Your PTO Days

After working full-time in PR for the past 17 years, I’ve seen countless employees never use up their PTO (paid time off) days. Plus, when companies begin Q3 and Q4, it tends to be even harder for employees to take those days because tasks pile-up and the pace quickens. Therefore, for those working at an office job, I highly recommend setting a schedule NOW for your PTO days and stick to them. I’m a big proponent of using up all of your PTO days (especially if they don’t carry over).

TIP #4: Set Boundaries

I struggle with this one so much. It’s never fun to say “no” or push back on people. However, when I set boundaries in life and work, the positive personal results are immediate and impactful. Lately, I’ve been saying “no” to a lot. No to blog partnerships that aren’t a fit, no to events that I won’t truly enjoy, and even no to some social activities that just feel overwhelming.

In this busy chapter of life, I’ve chosen to keep my “outside of work” schedule free and flexible. With so little extra time as of late, I’ve been much more protective of my alone time in order to recharge my battery.

TIP #5: Develop Goals and Fun Future Plans

Few things give me a bigger boost of serotonin than having something exciting to look forward to. Instead of our typical hemming and hawing until the last minute, we made an early decision and booked a holiday getaway. The resort and flights are all set, and I couldn’t be happier. Speaking of trips, we also went ahead and secured our accommodations for Nantucket next summer. Having a few solidified travel plans books gives us something to really look forward to as summer is ending.

While booking a future trip is exhilarating, it’s also daunting in these uncertain times. As such, be mindful that even small plans can be a mood booster. Other options like an al fresco get together with friends, purchasing a new kitchen gadget in order to try a fun recipe, or getting tickets to a local event could all yield positive results!

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In Closing

How are you managing the August Blues and FOSE? Any tips that you’d recommend to managing the transition into fall and this next season of life? Drop a comment below and let me know. Finally, I’m sending you love during this season of FOSE. We’re all in this together, and I’m always a DM away if you ever want to chat. xx

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  1. K
    Kacie wrote:

    So I’m actually the opposite in that I suffer from reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder in the summer months (most likely due to the extreme heat in the South) and look forward to the fall months when the outdoors becomes an enjoyable place for me to be again. But something that helps me during the summer is to plan for the coming season that brings me joy and improved well-being. I spend time planning trips in the fall/winter, planning my decorating, pinning cool weather recipes that I want to try…I basically channel the next season while struggling through the current one.

    I feel you on the heartbreaking state of our world and country right now. I try to compartmentalize and only take in what I can handle in a given day. If I’m scrolling and seeing nothing but doom and gloom, I have to look away. It may seem selfish to not be able to watch/read the news 24/7, but I think we have to prioritize our self-care and mental health. We take in what we can, help/donate where we can, and check out when we’ve reached our personal limit of bad news for that day/week/month.

    Sending you love!

    Published 8.26.21 · Leave a Reply
    • J

      Lots of love right back to you, Kacie! Hope you have a nice weekend ahead!

      Published 8.26.21 · Leave a Reply
  2. S
    Sara wrote:

    I’ve been feeling the same way!! I always get enough sleep and use my PTO days, but really need to set some work boundaries. I’ve been trying to power off my computer and shut the office door, so it feels more like leaving work. I like the idea of fall cleaning too. A fresh space always helps! Cheers to a new season.

    Published 8.26.21 · Leave a Reply
  3. T
    Tiffany M wrote:

    Personally, I live in Dallas and cannot wait for these triple digits to depart! Our fall here is so much more temperate and I look forward to it every year!

    Published 8.26.21 · Leave a Reply
    • J

      Definitely! It’s been SO hot in Chicago, too. Quite a way to end the season!

      Published 8.26.21 · Leave a Reply

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