How to beat the back-to-school blues

Not every mother in Northeastern Wisconsin is embracing September with open arms. It’s hard to bid farewell to the fun, carefree days in the summer sun and dive headfirst back in to the hectic school year – especially with shorter days and chilly temps just around the corner. For every mom who is doing cartwheels through the school parking lot, another is crying in her car.

Maybe your baby joined the ranks of the kindergartners this fall. Maybe your “baby” is now a middle-schooler and far too cool to be dropped off in your lame minivan. Or maybe you just brought your firstborn to his or her college dorm and then (sniff) went home without them.

Our reasons might be varied, but the sentiment is the same – back-to-school isn’t all fun times and freedom for emotional mothers. But take heart! There are steps you can take to beat the back-to-school blues.

  • Get to the source of your sadness: Psychologists say it’s easier to pull yourself out of your funk if you can pinpoint the cause of what’s bringing you down. You might need to do some soul-searching, but be honest with yourself. The passage of time and aging (in yourself and/or your kids), the advent of cooler weather and the insanity of another hectic school year are all valid reasons to feel blue.
  • Acknowledge your feelings: It’s OK to be sad about the end of summer. Wisconsin winters are brutal! And whether your child is starting kindergarten, college, or some grade in between, back-to-school time is a milestone moment for moms. It’s OK to wonder where the time went; weren’t they just in diapers a few minutes ago?!? So grab a Kleenex, flip through some old photo books and allow yourself a sentimental moment to reminisce.
  • Find the fun in fall: You can’t beat the beauty of Northeastern Wisconsin in autumn. Instead of living in dread of December, take a moment (or a weekend) to enjoy some of the fun, family-friendly activities that are synonymous with fall. Check out a new pumpkin patch or apple orchard. Go for a hay ride. Take the kids on a scenic hike or leaf-watching day trip. Attend your local high school’s Friday night football game. The possibilities are endless.
  • Make a new school year resolution: Who says you have to wait until January 1 to turn over a new leaf? The beginning of a new school year is the perfect time to get organized, restart your workout routine or get your finances back on track. You’ll feel better about yourself.
  • Look to the future: If you are already dreading those long dark days of winter, start dreaming and saving now for a sunny vacation now to break up the boredom. And if you can’t swing a week on a tropical beach, put some thought into how to make an unforgettable spring break for your family. Or book a long weekend at an indoor water park (for your kids) or a spa weekend with your girlfriends (no kids allowed).
  • There’s always next year: If you’re fretting about the items you failed to check off your summer bucket list this year, it’s not too early to sit down with your family and recap their favorite moments while planning for 2018. Once you have a list in place, fold it up and put it away – another summer will come, but there’s lots of fun to be had in the meantime.

What’s your family’s favorite fall activity? I’d love to read about it in the comments section!

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