Are you someone who isn’t excited about the ‘Fall Y’all’ Season? The swim clothes and summer toys are barely put away (or even still in use) and the stores are filled with pumpkin spice everything, hay bales, Halloween, and the brown, orange, and green color palette. And this will all swiftly be replaced by winter decor long before Halloween actually happens. If you’re one of those people who would like to just take a pass on the Hallmark Holiday of “Fall”, here are some tips to maintain your sense of joy during some of these events.
Whether it is school football games, fall festivals, Halloween parties, or volunteering at events or in the classroom, this season can be intense on your senses. Noise and smell are two senses that can affect our mood and overall sense of well-being, both positively and negatively.
If you know you are sensitive to noise, carrying noise-dampening or noise-canceling earbuds may be a game changer for you (or your kids). Sporting events, for example, fall into the ‘very loud’ decibel category, which can not only be dangerous for our ears but can put us on edge. If you can reduce the noise, your mood may thank you. There are some great options for kids as well!
Research has shown that smell has a significant impact on mood. Some smells can make us relaxed or stimulated, while others cause irritation and stress. If, for example, you are at a fall festival and there are a lot of different aromas, you may stop processing the smells, but they may still be impacting you. If you find yourself in this situation, you may have limited options. Obviously, getting into a well-ventilated area is ideal. If that’s not an option, you may choose to carry a fabric with a favorite scent that will calm your olfactory nerves, like a small bean bag filled with lavender or cinnamon sticks or coffee beans. Chewing peppermint gum can also help some people when smells are overwhelming.
Fall decor, Halloween costumes, Thanksgiving table-scapes, and winter holiday decor can be a lot to manage adding to the dislike of the season. Start by asking yourself what’s driving you to participate in this part of the holiday. If you think you ‘should’ or if there’s pressure from friends, neighbors, or even social media, you can always opt-out or scale back.
One option is to pick one of the events that you are going to go all out for and the others can be simple, or nothing at all. Another option is to delegate the decorating to someone else. Is there someone else in the family that loves putting up decorations? Is there someone you can hire to do it for you? Are there easier options for participating? For example, are there programmable color-changing lights that you can put up once that will work for all celebrations this season?
There are various levels of opting out that you can use depending on your needs. For example, perhaps Halloween is just not the holiday for you. Rather than staying at home with the lights out, trying to keep the dog quiet, and hoping that kids don’t come to the door, check the local hotels and book yourself a night away. If your kids aren’t fans of Halloween, which many aren’t, plan to go out to dinner and then a movie as a special family experience. You can even buy them a small stash of candy if they’re worried about missing out.
You can also opt out of the stress but still participate. Rather than cooking everything for Thanksgiving, purchase part or all of the meal or go out to one of the many fabulous restaurants in Phoenix and let someone else do all the cooking and cleaning. By only making your absolute favorites or special family recipes instead of the whole meal, you can save yourself time and energy while finding joy in the event. You can also choose to spread out making your favorite foods and treats over the months rather than trying to squeeze them all into one day.
Fall may not yet be a beloved season, but hopefully, it can be a little less stressful. Let us know what you do to bring joy into the upcoming “-ber” months. And, for those of you who absolutely love this season, check in with some of your friends and see if you can make an extra pie or hang a wreath for them.