Feeling Blue?
depression,  mood and food,  optimism,  self improvement

Feeling Blue as Summer Ends?

Feeling blue as summer ends? Understanding seasonal changes and your mental well-being is so important if you begin feeling blue as fall approaches.

As summer’s golden days and warm nights begin to wane and the first crisp whispers of fall are felt in the air, many of us begin to feel a subtle shift in our mood; we start feeling blue. This transition from summer to fall, while celebrated for its colorful foliage, pumpkin-spiced treats, and cozy warm sweaters, can also usher in feelings of melancholy for some of us, and that used to include me. Why does the impending fall season cause some of us to feel blue, and how does it relate to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)? Let’s explore this really interesting and remarkably prevalent phenomenon in the hope of finding some relief for those of us who suffer with it.

Nature’s Ebb and Flow

We’re subject to an eternal dance of the seasons, which affects almost every aspect of our lives. Just as animals migrate, hibernate, or shed their fur, we humans are not immune to the effects of changing seasons. Our ancestors, who were much more in tune with nature’s rhythms, might have been prepping for the harshness of winter around this time. Today, even though we lead more insulated lives, it’s possible our psyche may still hold remnants of that seasonal sensitivity.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

The feelings of sadness during the seasonal transition are not just a fleeting emotional state for everyone. For some, this period can trigger Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. SAD is a type of depression that begins and ends at about the same times every year. While it is more commonly reported to affect people during the winter months, a less common form can occur during the summer-to-fall transition.

Symptoms of Feeling Blue or SAD include:

• Feelings of depression most of the day and nearly every day.
• Losing interest in activities you usually enjoy.
• Changes in appetite or weight.
• Difficulty sleeping or oversleeping.
• Feeling either sluggish or agitated.
• Difficulty concentrating.
• Feeling hopeless, worthless or guilty.
• Even thoughts of death or suicide.

The exact cause of SAD is unknown, but some theories link it to an imbalance in serotonin, a decline in sunlight leading to a drop in melatonin, or disruptions in your body’s internal clock (circadian rhythm). For me, feeling blue appears to have been linked to eating a diet that promoted chronic low inflammation in my body. This may be part of your answer too, but let’s explore some other potential answers as well.

Fighting Back – the Fall Blues and SAD

It you’re feeling the weight of the seasonal shift or suspecting the onset of SAD, here are some action steps to help mitigate its effects:

1. Light Therapy: One of the most common treatments for SAD is light therapy. It involves sitting in front of a “light box” for about 30 minutes a day, usually soon after waking up. This box emits a bright light that mimicks natural sunlight.  Using light therapy is something I did for a number of years, and I still use it occasionally during the winter months. Here’s a link to a light that is small in size and is reasonably priced. https://amzn.to/3UflgB8  You can simply put it on your desk while you’re working. As always, be sure to consult a healthcare professional before starting light or any other new therapy.

2. Maintain a Routine: Keeping a regular sleep schedule, eating balanced meals, and maintaining a daily routine can help normalize your internal clock and improve mood. I have to say eating balanced meals of mostly whole foods and skipping the sweet and highly processed stuff that makes you feel better for a few minutes then drops you even lower than you felt to begin with was a game changer for me.

3. Stay Active: Physical activity is known to relieve symptoms of depression and improve mood. Whether it’s a brisk walk, a session at the gym, or practicing yoga, the release of ‘feel-good’ endorphins can be beneficial. I know when you’re feeling down, it’s hard to motivate yourself. Try forcing yourself to go for a walk and see if it makes a difference.

4. Stay Connected: Socializing can act as a mood booster. Make plans with friends or family, join a club, or simply engage in community activities.

5. Seek Professional Help: If you are feeling blue and suspect you have SAD, it can be helpful to see a healthcare professional. They can recommend treatments like counseling, light therapy, or medication if needed. It’s important to ask for advice and counsel as to what foods you should include to help you improve your blue mood.

6. Embrace the Season: Sometimes, diving deep into the season can shift your perspective. Indulge in fall activities – visit an apple orchard, go for foliage trips, or simply wrap yourself in your favorite cozy blanket with a cup of warm cocoa.

7. Mindfulness and Meditation: Practices like meditation, deep breathing exercises, and journaling can be therapeutic. They allow you to be present in the moment, acknowledge your feelings, and create a sense of calm.

As the weather gets cooler and the days get shorter, it’s natural for some of us to feel the nostalgic pangs or even the deeper impacts of Seasonal Affective Disorder. Recognizing these feelings and understanding they are part of a natural cycle is the first step towards addressing them. By employing the above-mentioned steps, you’ll be better able to navigate seasonal shifts and also to embrace and find joy in each passing phase of the year.

On a personal note, I used to dread fall. The lengthening of the shadows, the frost and freezing of the plants, the shorter days and the darkness all pushed me toward feeling blue. I promise, just as I did, you can be triumphant over these blue times. I embrace and welcome fall and winter now, although I’m always a super happy summer girl!

Remember, after every fall, there’s a spring waiting just around the corner!

Helping You Achieve Major Wellness!


Cheryl A Major, CNWC

Cheryl A Major, CNWC

I’m author, health coach, and entrepreneur Cheryl A Major, and I would love to connect with you. If you’re new to the world of creating a better mindset for yourself, please check out my training on how to do just that at Embrace Optimism. Learn how to improve your mindset and create a happier and more positive life for yourself and those around you.


P.S. Please take a look at the books I’ve written.

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