Encouraging Your (Seasonal Depression) Husband to Love Fall
Happy 1st Day of Fall! As a fall-lover I can tell you that I am absolutely overjoyed that today is finally here. My summer-loving husband pleaded with me to wait until today to burn my first Fall-scented candle of the year and I tried, I did, but I failed. I lit my first Fall-scented candle 5 days ago (it was vanilla cashmere) and it was heavenly. I was so excited about it I had to Instagram it. Lol. I had no shame. It smelled amazing. I woke up a few days later to see my husband in a long-sleeved T in our living room. I smiled while he kind of glared at me. He knew I was relishing these cooler days (although let’s face it, it’s Georgia and it’s still hot).
It’s just tough for him when the cooler months start rolling in. He’s a warm weather guy and he loves summer. As a person with seasonal depression, it’s even worse for him. As the weather cools down, the leaves start to fall, and everything outside goes to sleep, he finds himself drifting in to a darker and darker inside world as well. While I’m loving the smells, colors, and cooler temps he’s falling in to a seasonal depression brought by the loss of warmth, sunshine, and life.
How to Encourage Your Seasonal-Depression Spouse
When we were first married I really failed my husband during the seasonal changes. I was so focused on my joys in the changing season that I wasn’t able to meet him where he was with his struggle. I’d say things like, “How can you not love this?!” or “You’re not enjoying this? What’s wrong with you?” Let me tell you, don’t say those things to your spouse. Just…don’t. Here’s what to do instead…
Focus on what is back this season
I have a friend whose husband is obsessed with pumpkin spice so he is allllll about Fall just for that reason. My husband doesn’t love pumpkin spice but there is a lot that he does love that comes back in the Fall. There are things like: NFL Football, NBA Basketball and The Walking Dead on TV and with those things comes a lot to get out and do like attend the games and attend Walker Stalker Con (again).
Conscious focusing on (and discussing) what is back in season helps encourage him to love Fall and be grateful it is here. I’ll say stuff like, “I’m so glad that Football is back. I’ve missed cheering for the Bucs with you every Sunday.” or “We should make plans to go to a Hawks game together this year.” It just takes little comments to help focus on what’s available now that wasn’t available just one short month ago.
Cook their favorite Fall foods
Now that it’s Fall again I’ll make some of my husband’s favorite Fall meals like a vegetarian stuffed pepper soup, a quinoa chili, and cinnamon apples. I’ll put cinnamon apples in the slow cooker early in the morning and let them simmer all day so the house smells amazing and it tantalizes his taste buds. He loves apple desserts so I like to emphasize that they are back because it’s Fall. It just gives him one more reason to be grateful for the season. My Pinterest boards are already filling up with new Fall recipes for this year.
Focus on making anything that is unique to this time of year. It will help your seasonal depression spouse remember that there are some things that only come around once a year and it helps encourage them to enjoy this time.
Go to Fall places. Take pictures. Make memories.
I learned this about my husband during our first few weeks – he’s all about pictures! He will go anywhere if it means good photo ops and that has benefited me more than a few times throughout our marriage. He’s gone to museums, botanical gardens, Christmas tree lightings, etc all because we could take great pictures together which means memories to reflect on later.
For Fall I like to plan Fall-specific outings like pumpkin patches, apple picking, Haunted Houses, corn mazes, football games, basketball games, parades, and festivals. I especially love festivals because Atlanta is known for a tremendous amount of festivals that come around during the Fall. Seasonal depression sometimes means making plans then, when the day of the event comes, not feeling quite so excited about it anymore. That is when you, as the supporting spouse, share optimism about the event and sometimes have to compromise by offering to stay no longer than 2 hours, agreeing to leave if they aren’t enjoying themselves, or something else particular to your spouse. Marriage is partnership, remember?
Keep the routine
While you’re celebrating the return of some beloved things (like football), cooking new food, and going new places you should also keep some things completely routine so that there isn’t so much change that it feels like a completely different life. If Thursday night was always pizza night before, keep it pizza night. If the first Friday of every month was family movie night, keep it family movie night. Keep the bedtime routine, keep the morning routine, maintain your cleaning schedule or other activities.
You want to embrace the season but you don’t want to change so much that it feels unsettling.
Stock up on new gear
I don’t think there is anyone that really hates shopping especially when they are shopping for themselves and for things they love. My husband looks great in a hoodie, loves jackets, hats, and shoes, and is always searching for new gear. Obviously, the change of seasons is the perfect time to purge your old wardrobe and pick up new items so I make sure to encourage the occasional shopping trip for Fall / Winter items.
Sometimes I’ll casually mention, “You know, maybe we should pick up a new pair of shoes before we go to the pumpkin patch this weekend. Maybe something brown? Or black? Something more “Fall-ish”?” I might mention that I’m going shopping for new sweaters and he should come along in case we find something for him. I am pretty sure that for most people new = good.
We recently picked up a few new TB Buccaneer hats for him (since it’s football season) which he has worn with pride since they beat the Falcons on Opening Day and Winston has been playing well.
and, if all else fails, remind them that it’s not forever. This year we are also traveling for Thanksgiving and Christmas so that should make for a great Fall / Winter season.
To those of us that love Fall – it’s here!!!