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A cure for the end of summer blues

Psychologist Dale Atkins with a prescription for happiness for the close of the getaway season.
/ Source: TODAY

You don’t have to be a child to suffer from “end of summer sadness.” So why do so many of us dread the season coming to an end? Psychologist Dale Atkins has a prescription for happiness for the end of summer blues.

Most of us hate the end of summer. Many struggle with it every year and this year especially. In fact, many of us this summer are struggling with the season coming to an end mostly because of events that were out of our control.


For many in general, the end of the summer means the end of relaxation. Even if you work, many offices have “summer” hours and “summer” dress codes. It’s ingrained in you from the time you were a child that summer is a time of long lazy days and carefree moments. It means sunlight and being outdoors and it’s a time when you may stop taking life so seriously.


The residual overhang of world events had people staying closer to home this summer and as a result we simply don’t feel as if we “got away” or had a vacation. So for some, the “regular routine” was not broken very much and so they feel like they never got the break they’re accustomed to, therefore some people, more than usual are “at one another” and don’t feel restored and revitalized.


World events include things like bad weather. Much of the country suffered from bad weather on a majority of the summer weekends; Not only that, but many people are still leery of travel which is making people want to get away from it all even more now, but causing a definite crimp in the “let’s get away from it all” vacation mentality.

With the employment situation the way it is, people who are unemployed are not able to afford a vacation and time off is not what they are looking for they are looking for a job.

People who are concerned about losing their job in the next round of cutbacks are disinclined to take time off because they want to work to have the funds they will need should they be without a job for awhile.


One philosophy is that travel and adventure are all a state of mind. You can get away from it all right where you are. The trick is doing it on an ongoing basis as part of your “normal” routine.

Give yourself something each day that is just for you — a mini-vacation of the mind and spirit. It’s amazing what just 5 minutes of quieting the mind can do to change the course of the day, a person’s mood, and an attitude. Nothing you can do about the weather or the world situation but you can do something about planning something(s) interesting, fun, meaningful, for you and/or your family.


Do something with people whom you like. It can be a pot luck dinner at a park, a group of friends getting together for a “spa evening,” spending one evening or weekend for the “girls” or the “guys” to see a marathon of a theme of old movies or something that is different and totally fun. Are there birthdays or anniversaries or religious holidays coming up in the fall which could be used as an excuse for making the day even more special than normal? Using it as an “excuse” to go away or invite people to do something special.

Plan to visit some place that you have never gone before or have not gone in a long time and make it “a special outing.”


If you always eat cereal for breakfast, eat French toast. Take different transportation to work. Add a workout to your routine for the great bathing suit you want to get into next summer.


Add people to your life. Make it a point to meet a new person every week. If you always pick your kids up from school or a soccer game and don’t know the other parents you see very well, suggest a potluck dinner. Call old friends or relatives in different cities whom you haven’t seen in years and “make a date” for a longer phone call. Then have a nice visit with them without having to leave home.


Go to a bookstore or library and go to a section you don’t usually frequent. Choose a book there and read it. Learn to cook. Learn a language. Take advantage of the long evenings the fall will bring; the nights that don’t make you want to be outside, to do something constructive inside.


Make a list of the summer activities you wanted to do this year but didn’t get a chance to. Or the places you wanted to visit but didn’t have time or the money to do it and start planning a way to get it done next summer so you have no regrets.

Put the adventure back into your life or if you never had it, begin now even if you never get away from home. It’s free, it will give you a new perspective and it will give you a break from routine.