A few days ago, I had a phone visit with a dear friend who is a visual artist and who loves using her body to tell stories. We met in Denver, CO and while we both lived there, we connected through our love for our culture, and our love of visual and performative arts and rituals that encourage the healing of mind, body, and soul, and the bridging of realities, peoples, and communities. Now we each live on the opposite coast from each other.
After catching up about our summer’s joys we acknowledged our common experience with end-of-summer-time-sadness known as Fall Blues –the mild or intense feelings people may experience as the daylight shortens, the weather turns colder, the leaves of the trees begin to fall and it start to be clear that the winter months are on their way. Some of these feelings can be sadness, depression, irritability, lethargy, anxiety, and disinterest in things that usually bring us joy.
The first time I experienced Fall Blues was when I lived in Denver and although it was a mild case, I still went to the place of asking, “What is wrong with me? I live in Sunshine Central, there is nothing wrong with my life right now, why am I feeling sad, lethargic, sleepy and anxious?” But then I learned about Fall Blues and how the decrease of vitamin D — known as the sunshine vitamin — and serotonin impacts our bodies and minds. Then, during one of our visits with my friend, she shared her experience, and that encouraged me to shared mine. I realized that I was not the only one going through the Fall Blues! Naming and sharing our experiences was healing and liberating, it took away the stigma placed on us by culture and society.
Since eating nutritious food, staying physically active, engaging in practices to support and ease the mind and spirit, and connection with nature and community are some of the things recommended to help with Fall Blues, my friend and I added to our visits the practices of eating together, enjoying a hot chocolate in the sun room of my house, and a ritual in the garden with flowers and herbs to acknowledge the turning of the seasons. During the ritual we would name the gifts of Summer, acknowledge the Fall Blues, and then set intentions and speak our dreams and hopes for the new season. Divine solidarity became flesh in the listening, caring, sharing, eating, and practicing together with my friend, and it helped us both to get through the Fall Blues.
As we journey into this Fall, if you are a person who experiences Fall Blues, know that you are not alone in this experience. I encourage you to offer compassion and love to yourself, nutritious food for your body, practices that ease your mind, body and soul, and to seek professional help if you need it. You are worthy of all of this love and care at this time and always!
With you in the journey,
Rev. Nancy Rosas
Rev. Nancy Rosas (she/her/hers) is the Pastor of Pilgrim-St. Luke’s United Church of Christ, a WISE (Welcoming, Inclusive, Supportive and Engaged) for mental health spiritual community in Buffalo, NY. She encourages and nurtures her sense of joy and resilience through the practices of yoga and meditation, photography, gardening, writing, and being outdoors on a regular basis.