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Fall Funk

Here I am again, closing in on the impending time change feeling like my energy, productivity level, ability to stay on task and overall enthusiasm (even for the fun stuff–hello exercise!) has hunkered down in the nearest cave for impending hibernation.

It happens every year (and apparently I write about it every year). I hit the proverbial wall as the days get shorter. Fall literally feels like it falls on me, knocking me over. I want to look up and say, “What the hell?” I shouldn’t be surprised and yet every year I begin October thinking I’m going to be able to outwit the darkness. By November I’m flailing. “You can’t go over it, you can’t go under it, you just have to go through it.”

So I do, or at least I have in years past. Despite the appeal of slothfulness at this moment, I’m trying to remember how it is I get through it. So far, my list includes:

1. Give in. But only for a week. I give the finger to my alarm clock and otherwise slack off in any way as is possible for a mother of four. The highlight of my slackerness, which I allowed myself last week, was stealing a nap one afternoon while my son napped. Yes, it felt very indulgent.

2. Reintroduce myself to the dark. I do have to function before the sun gets up and after the sun goes down. That alarm goes back into commission and I use any motivation I can to get out of bed. I have discovered, in doing this, that the sunrises from my new house are spectacular and are, in fact, worth getting up for.

3. Keep exercising even when I don’t feel like it. What can I say. I just don’t feel like it. I know better, though. I know that if I can just move a little here and there, I will remember that exercise will be the light for the long winter months.

4. Avoid ruts. Especially when it’s dark, you don’t want to find yourself in a rut. Two years ago I switched it up with dancing, last year I signed up for tennis lessons. This year I’m still undecided. I plan to hit a new class at the gym tonight and try a masters swim class on Thursday. I seem to muster up motivation for something new. It better be good…

5. Stay out of the Halloween candy. For the love of Hersheys, we have waaaaay too much sugar in the house for me after our four trick or treaters hit the road last night. Let it be known I have raided the candy bags and am now searching for a way to get rid of it. The Butterfingers, like sleeping in, provides only temporary, fleeting gratification, not long-term satisfaction. Still, I allowed myself the splurge, now it’s time to move on.

Any other ideas to help me through my fall funk are welcome!

Kara Douglass Thom

Kara Douglass Thom is a triathlete, freelance writer and mother of four. She and Laurie Kocanda are the co-authors of Hot (Sweaty) Mamas: Five Secrets to Life as a Fit Mom.

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