Shocktober: Staying Sane during Spooky Season

Anyone who knows me will know that I LOVE scary movies. I couldn’t be more thrilled that the spooky season is upon us! 

However, in a recent discussion with my besties, who are also teachers, they mentioned the increase of mental health issues in their schools and how they are feeling overwhelmed….you know SHOCKobter. I have noticed even in our own Austin Therapy for Girls office the uptick in calls, along with new and returning clients at the start of October. I am reminded of how the last 10 weeks of the year tend to be the busiest for most of us in the helping profession. Seems like the wheels of the bus start falling off for everyone during this time. The newness of a new school, new semester, and new anything has worn off, and the ease and relaxed vibe of summer is just a ghost from the past. 

So as a horror film aficionado, I am going to give you some tips on how to survive SHOCKtober just like that protagonist who is the last one standing in your favorite scary movie (don’t worry – we won’t get too graphic here!) 

  1. Don’t ever go to the woods alone (or the basement for that matter!). 

While some of us introverts recharge with alone time now is the time to find your support system and stick by their side. Stay with your peeps and remember there is strength in numbers! Try to stay open and honest about your needs when it comes to connection with others. Phone a friend and let them know you could use a pal right now. 

  1. Keep your batteries charged.

You know that moment in a scary movie where the girl is about to call for help and the phone is dead? How many times have we yelled at the screen during this moment? I’m not telling you just to keep your phone charged – you need to keep your own batteries operating at 100 percent. In real life our own batteries can be depleted to power-saving mode and it’s time to plug in. What does it mean to charge your own battery? This might look like drinking enough water, eating nutritious food, getting enough sleep, journaling, staying on top of your homework and to-do list, socializing with friends, connecting with your family, and seeing your therapist.

  1. Train to outrun the zombies. 

“The first rule of Zombieland: cardio.”
Forget the fitspo influencers who are shelling out unrealistic beauty standards and 6-packs. This isn’t about being skinny – this is about training to outrun the zombies! Okay, we all know zombies are not real but what is real is the benefits of moving your body. Daily exercise, whether that’s yoga, going for a walk, lifting weights, or hitting a dance class, has been proven to boost your mood and reduce anxiety. 

  1. If all else fails scream really loud. 

You know when you’re watching a scary movie and the lead character is scared silent? Friends, let’s GET. IT. OUT. If you’re feeling frustrated or overwhelmed it’s ok to scream really loud. Scream in your car, into your pillow, or at the sky. Try it! If screaming isn’t your style that’s okay too. What I’m really trying to say is it’s okay to feel your feelings and to express them outloud. 

  1. Trust that this isn’t forever. 

Fortunately, we’re not living through a horror film. The boogie man often exists only in our own heads. If you are scared or anxious just know that this is not forever. Take a deep breath, talk to a trusted friend or family member, or make an appointment with your therapist for tools to make this season a little less spooky. 

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