autumn has arrived. (and so has my anxiety).

Good morning, friends. 👋 Happy Indigenous People’s day to you. I’ve missed you all.

First…

I wanted to start by acknowledging that what is happening in Israel and Palestine right now is absolutely horrific and unimaginable and it feels unfair and wrong on some level to be able to sit here, writing to you from my apartment, when so many people are in danger, under attack and dying. If you’re like me and are still trying to understand more about what’s happening and the context behind it, Sharon McMahon has an Israel/Hamas highlight on her Instagram that I’m finding helpful. To my Jewish and Palestinian friends, I’m sending you all my love.


Apple Picking

I took the last few months off from posting and boy am I happy to be back. I love connecting with you all in this way.

How was your summer? How has the start of fall been for you?

For me, last weekend I got to go apple picking with Dan, which was just the most fun. We got up hella early (to beat the crowds), rented a car through Turo, drove our way into Indiana, and promptly proceeded to pick 18 pounds of fresh apples. We finished our visit off with an early (10:30am) lunch at the food trucks at the orchard (veggie burrito for Dan, pulled pork and potato salad for me). My plan is to make 2 apple pies a week for the next month to make our way through the inordinate amount of apples that are now sitting in our fridge.

Marathon

Sunday, I was lucky enough to participate in the Chicago marathon. As a spectator, to be clear. Tell me why watching a marathon makes me want to weep.

There are thousands of people, of all backgrounds and sizes, running and working together. From where we were watching, it looked like a gigantic, friendly stampede was coming over the hill in front of us. Some avid runners, some newer; there are people in wheelchairs being pushed by their loved ones; there are people running on prosthetic legs. There are hundreds of people cheering from the sidelines (one man next to us kept cheering for his wife, ‘FAVI FAVI FAVI!’). People are holding up their handwritten, sweet af signs. Everybody is rooting for everybody. It’s as if the runners are running on behalf of Team Human and we’re all just rooting for each other… for community, for strength, for courage. For love, in this often hard-to-exist-in world.

Brb, tearing up just thinking about it. God bless all those runners. You inspire me!

Autumn.

Anywho, what I really wanted to share with you today was related to autumn. Is it just me, or does the fall sort of rattle you a little? Not majorly (not as much as winter*), but for me, I notice that as the leaves begin to change and the air begins to crispen (that’s definitely not a word), certain things just get a liiiiittle thrown off.

What’s funny though is every year, without fail, these predictable, seasonal changes take me by surprise. I suppose I have a case of seasonal amnesia, because as my body begins to break down, I begin every fall by thinking, ‘What the hell is going on with me?’ and then a few weeks into the season I finally recall, ‘Oh yeah… I think this happened last year, too…’

I think I’d enjoy fall (and winter) a whole lot more if I just did a little more to remember and prepare for the season as it’s starting.

So, I’m writing myself a little love-note to self, to read at the start of every fall, so that I can properly prepare for the season ahead.

Whether you struggle with the shift in seasons or not, I hope reading this letter inspires you in some way. It’s more or less a reminder of good, basic self care practices, so I’m hopeful it’ll still be relevant.

And if you have your own struggles that come with the start of the cold weather… I highly recommend writing yourself a letter, too. It’s nice to be reassured by someone you know (you) that there’s actually nothing wrong with you and that everything’s going to be okay.

Dear Autumn-Bibs,

The leaves are changing, the temps are dropping, and I’m here to remind you… your body is going to feel the effects of it. ✌️ I’m also here to say, it’s okay, there’s no need to panic, and this will pass.

Let’s not beat around the bush. Here’s what you can expect the fall to give you:

  1. Insomnia.
  2. Increased anxiety.
  3. Frequently feeling chilled-to-the-bone cold.
  4. Increased melancholy & nostalgia. (And as winter gets closer: a sense of looming depression. i.e. SAD).

I know… sounds kind of awful. But I want to remind you that all of this stuff is (for you and your body) very normal for this time of year. Not to mention very treat-able. You will (and are) getting through this.

Here are some things that I’d like you to integrate into your routine for the next few months — each one, in different ways, addressing the 4 challenges above.

1. Yes to sleep suppies, no to blue light. 🙅🏻‍♀️

For whatever reason, fall fucks with your circadian rhythm. So do what you can to mitigate that.

When the sun goes down, wear your blue light blocking glasses. Trade Netflix before bed for reading one of those (dozens of) books you’ve ordered instead. Wear your manta sleep mask.

And take your sleep supplements (as needed). Note to the reader: consult your healthcare provider for medications and supplements that are right for you. For me, I like magnesium (nightly), and kava, l-trytophan, and pure honokiol — all about an hour before bed, every 2-3 nights (every night leaves me feeling a little too groggy in the mornings*).

2. Cold showers & movement are your friends. 🚿

Sometimes anxiety is obviously linked to circumstances. And sometimes? Your body just FEELS anxious. For no apparent reason.

Regardless, remember the tools that help you physically move through those feelings of anxiety fastest: end your showers with a minute or two of cold water exposure, to dissipate that tightness in your chest. Go for a run. Do some jumping jacks. Yell. Breathe. Take a yoga class, a boxing class, or The Class.

3. Layer up, buttercup. 🧥

We know it’s going to be bitter cold now (on and off) and come winter (consistently) so let us prepare.

First of all, you’ve been complaining for two years that your winter jacket isn’t warm enough, so invest in a new one. Charge up your hand warmers, and break out the slippers and wool socks.

And remember your favorite combo of attire to maximize warmth when cold indoors: a base layer (top & bottom), followed by a cashmere layer (often thrifted!), followed by a heating pad or two (one for the shoulders, one for the legs). When heating pads aren’t available, the Comfy always comes in clutch.

(I’m chuckling reading this back ^ — we take layering very seriously).

4. Get reacquainted with your journal. And don’t stop going to therapy.

Whenever you’re feeling a little blue or nostalgic during the fall months, Dan always reminds you that fall is the most contemplative season. And it truly is!

When this contemplation inevitably brings up some feelings for you (melancholy, sadness, confusion, what have you), remember that your journal is still available to you. If you recall, you used to journal every day, religiously. While you don’t have to go back to that level of consistency, aim for a morning or two a week, where you jot down just a few sentences about how you feel. I promise it’ll help. It always does.

And keep your regular therapy appointments on the calendar… having a space to express whatever feelings or flashbacks are coming up for you is so important.

5. Put time on the calendar for friends & nature.

Last but not least, don’t forget about all the fun things you love about fall (and winter). Make it a point to do those things, and schedule time in to be outside and with friends. Before you know it, spring will be here, and you’ll forget all about your layer-laden fall and winter (until you read this letter again, come September 2024).

Until then, be well & stay warm.

With love,

~Summer Bibs~

P.S. Oh yeah one more thing! Food. Whenever it starts to get cold, you can expect to see a significant uptick in your cravings for sugar, carbs, and fat (usually at the same time). No need to overthink… Enjoy your 20 dozen pies, and trust that your body will recalibrate soon enough.

The latest podcast episode:

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