Summer is a relaxed season and the shining sun and warm weather tends to warm our worries away. So, if Fall brings new pressures, what can we do to keep our more positive summer mood as Fall and Winter come upon us?
Well, one reason summer is often easier on us stress-wise is that we fill it with activities. When the weather becomes inclement we might curtail our program of fun and meeting up with friends and get stuck behind the T.V. This means that keeping ourselves active can be a potential solution to keeping our stress levels, our depression, and our anxieties at bay.
Chicago has about 50 theaters for plays, comedy and improv, and there are websites for half price tickets. Several museums have tours, programs and free days for visits. Many organizations and Churches, Mosques and Synagogues could use tutors or help serving lunches or dinners. Keep your workout routine on course, or start one. Join a health club and take classes where you'll meet others, as well as get a work-out motivated by a pro. "Meet-Up" is on line and has endless activities. I had one client who found a group for others who wanted to meet up and throw Frisbees with others that had multiple large dogs!! There are groups for almost every interest. Go dance at the Drake Hotel, which is free, except for the price of your drink. Take a walk along the lake, and better yet, invite a friend to walk with you.
Check out the purchase of a special lamp for light therapy. There is good evidence that it works against seasonal affective disorder(SADS) https://www.webmd.com/depression/depression-sad-diagnosis-treatment#1. These are special lamps, but they are available at rather low cost.
By all means, don't increase your alcohol consumption beyond a couple of drinks a day, and less than that may be better yet. Alcohol and most recreational drugs may improve mood for a bit, but than have the opposite impact. They also disturb sleep, which makes us more irritable.
As in all my posts, I emphasize, that if the stress, anger, anxiety, or depression doesn't go away, becomes hard to face, or starts to interfere with your life, or if family conflict rises, talk to your family physician or seek the help of a mental health professional. Many clergy are also well-trained to start the conversation with you and if necessary refer you on to a mental health professional.