“Spring passes and one remembers one’s innocence. Summer passes and one remembers one’s exuberance. Autumn passes and one remembers one’s reverence. Winter passes and one remembers one’s perseverance.” -Yoko Ono
As the weather cools down, many people begin to experience changes in their mental health. While some people embrace the cold, soon to be snowy days, others find themselves feeling more down and generally less energetic and motivated.
No matter what camp you find yourself in, the long winter days can be hard for us all and fall is the time to prepare for the upcoming seasonal changes. One place to start is by beginning to develop your winter routine: scheduled movement, a standing sleep/wake cycle, and sun exposure (whenever possible). Talking with your therapist, family, and friends can also help keep you anchored in managing these changes and to maintain a self care plan. Know that countless people find seasonal changes to be challenging for a variety of reasons and that there are always ways to develop a plan that works specifically for you.
Want a better understanding of how seasonal changes impact our mental health and ideas for coping? You can read more here, here and here.
Copyright © Melissa A. Frey, LCSW 2022. All rights reserved.
If you’re like many others, fall often feels like a time of change. The weather becomes cooler, and the days feel shorter. For some, this is a cozy time of reflection; for others, this is a time of an onset of mood symptoms. Whichever camp you are in (or perhaps both), part of embracing the change of seasons is embracing the inevitability of change. Taking care of ourselves can be a bit more challenging when it’s cooler and there are less sunny days. I encourage clients to find one or two simple joys in their daily activities and ensure they get to these joys as though they are on your “to do” list. Sometimes these joys shift as the seasons shift, so ensuring you still have a few “go to” joys is essential. Looking for some ideas? Here are 75 simple joy examples to help get you started.
Wanting to think through fall feels more? You can read more here.
Loving fall and want to know why? You can read more here.
“Is not this a true autumn day? Just the still melancholy that I love—that makes life and nature harmonize.” -George Eliot
Copyright ©Melissa A. Frey, LCSW 2022. All rights reserved.
Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.
Lyric night of the lingering Indian summer, Shadowy fields that are scentless but full of singing, Never a bird, but the passionless chant of insects, Ceaseless, insistent.
The grasshopper’s horn, and far-off, high in the maples, The wheel of a locust leisurely grinding the silence Under a moon waning and worn, broken, Tired with summer.
Let me remember you, voices of little insects, Weeds in the moonlight, fields that are tangled with asters, Let me remember, soon will the winter be on us, Snow-hushed and heavy.
Over my soul murmur your mute benediction, While I gaze, O fields that rest after harvest, As those who part look long in the eyes they lean to, Lest they forget them.
– Sara Teasdale
“I don’t mind falling. Every mistake is just a thoughtful decision in disguise. Taking bold steps into the future with purpose and intention is the same thing as watching both of your sleeves being pulled into the threshing machine. Sometimes there’s nothing you can do but watch. And if I stay as open as possible and feel as much as possible and I keep writing about it, I might as well be dashing around on the wet pavement with little to no walking experience. But I want to trust my instincts anyway. Tucking into a ball as you hit the pavement is a superpower. Getting up with a smile on your face is a superpower.”
Therapists are almost always reading some sort of therapy book (in the background of their fiction pile), in my experience. We often are asked about books for specific subjects and love offering recommendations, so always ask if you’ve got a topic in mind.
In the meantime, here are some of the books our clinicians are reading now:
All About Love: New Visions by bell hooks
A very accessible book about every facet of love, including a working definition of the action of giving and receiving love.
The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk
The cult following/classic about how the brain, mind, and body are connected in the framework of trauma.
Attached. by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller
Another very accessible book about attachment styles; extremely helpful to understanding one’s own attachment style, independent of any relationship status.
Copyright © Melissa A. Frey, LCSW 2022. All rights reserved.
Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.
– Mary Anne Radmacher
As we find ourselves during a particularly difficult time with filled many emotions, I’ve been reflecting on ways in which we can open ourselves up to strong/painful emotions in a structured way. There is a “Gentle Practice for Opening Up to Painful Emotions” that you can find here both recorded and written, depending on your preferred modality.
As the writer of the practice, Rhonda Magee, writes, “Take a moment to pause with all of the news coming at us, especially if you are someone who seeks to move in the direction of the suffering, to work, and to alleviate it, through actions and engagements in the world.”
Remember to seek out support from loved ones, family, and friends as we seek to process the emotions and events we are facing and have faced.
Copyright © 2022 Melissa A. Frey, LCSW. All rights reserved.
Resilience is accepting your new reality, even if it’s less good than the one you had before. You can fight it, you can do nothing but scream about what you’ve lost, or you can accept that and try to put together something that’s good.