I’m an introvert and I have a confession. Even though I love the beauty of fall it can be a dark time for me.
To be honest, I’m not sure why I get the fall blues, but I can’t deny that the change of season comes with a change in my mood.
I used to try to combat the inevitable autumn gloominess by doing something that only made it worse. If you’re an introvert like me, you might of made this mistake, too.
What NOT to do
In the past I thought that pursuing a lot of lofty goals and projects would keep my dark fall moods at bay.
Like many introverts, I gravitate toward more structured activities that have a clear purpose. This helps us avoid meaningless small talk while still feeling connected to a community and cause.
Throughout my teens and early twenties I thrived off the structured nature of church, where I was a youth leader, choir member, and Sunday school teacher.
I loved having a clear role, but I wouldn’t say that I truly enjoyed myself. My mom will be the first to tell you about the many meltdowns I had because of my overpacked schedule.
When I finally understood and accepted my introversion, I thought I left all of that overzealous extroverting behind.
But old habits are hard to kick—especially during times of stress. That’s why up until very recently, fall was a time of frenzied relapse for me.
A couple of years ago, for example, I signed on to perform salsa in front of hundreds of people, go on a trip to New York with three friends, and do standup at two well-known NYC clubs—all in the same month.
All of these activities required a lot of planning and preparation, which created several weeks of stress. Not only that.
As a highly sensitive introvert, the adrenaline-inducing nature of the performances left me emotionally and physically wiped out.
The extreme burnout I experienced that fall was a reality check. I vowed never to make the same mistake again. I would have to find another way to deal with my fall blues, but how?
A better way
As an introvert coach and author, I’ve learned that small changes can lead to big results.
This is especially true when you’re highly sensitive and easily overwhelmed like me. Trying to use the extrovert’s framework for progress, which is propped up by slogans like “just do it!” and “carpe diem!”, often leads to introvert burnout.
Also, it’s just plain unnecessary.
When you’re in the depths of sadness, it’s easy to believe that you need to make big changes to feel better. And yet, it’s the small daily habits that really make the difference.
Luckily, times of change, such as when you move house, start a new job, or even a change of season, are actually the best time to make other healthy shifts.
Your brain has an easier time accepting the new habit or activity when you’re already experiencing changes.
How introverts can overcome the fall blues
Virtually no aspect of our lives have been untouched by the march of technology, and our mental health is no exception.
Wearable tech has made great strides in the past decade or so, to the point that we can even change our own moods.
It might sound like something out of a sci-fi movie, but the augmentative wearable device Hapbee has been well-received by initial testers, and looks set to transform the way we view our own wellness.
The device, worn around the head, lets you select your desired mood at the touch of a button on a smartphone app. Relaxation, focus, sleepiness, and more are available with just a tap, using safe, low-energy signals to softly adjust your mental state.
Low mood? There’s an app for that…
So, ask yourself…
What is one healthy change I can make right now that will have the biggest impact on my mood?
One change I made recently is that I started salsa dancing again. Since there are no dance events happening right now, I found a fellow dancer to practice with.
Other easy changes you can make include trying out a new exercise regimen, or even sprucing up your wardrobe.
Blame it on all the 90’s makeover movies I watched, but I believe in the power of a new outfit. Sure, it sounds shallow, but sometimes we need to see ourselves differently in order to feel different.
Of course, for us introverts the most important shifts are internal. Remember to stay connected to your inner essence and follow your intuition to a sunnier state of mind.
Also, if you’re new here, be sure to grab my free Introvert Connection Guide.
Dear “Fortune Cookie”:
This is a timely email for me, as I navigate through one of my seasonal cycles of depression. And I’m getting some talk therapy help, simply because I need it.
Your return to Salsa dancing sounds great. But frankly I was a bit dissappointed with your video, out driving with your Mom, seeking a pair of sexy shoes for your involvement in exotic pole dancing. C’mon Michaela, this is way beneath you. What is motivating you to do this?
Please explain. Thanks
I’m glad it was helpful for you, Bert. Thanks for your concern, but attending pole dancing classes isn’t anything “dirty” or “beneath me”. It’s just a fun way to get together with other women and express ourselves away from the male gaze and judgment.
This is good timing. Thank you for sharing.
good article michaela i feel the same way my highly sensentive myself so iknow what u r talking about keep those insightive articles coming i appreciate them immencely txs yur friend joe..
Thanks Joe, glad you can relate!
I get it 😎