We all know, in this part of the world anyway, that when summer is over, there are many changes. What we may not be as aware of is how these changes might affect us on many different levels.

There are biological shifts that relate to a decrease in the hours of sunlight, as well as to changes in temperature. Sleep patterns may have to change to accommodate a change in schedule if you or your children are going back to school.

Where summer generally allows students to take each day as it comes, the academic year demands some thinking ahead and planning.

The social environment changes and the number of social interactions each day can increase dramatically. What this means ultimately is major adjustments for everyone, and that may translate into stress.

Parents, particularly those at home, may either go into a state of ecstasy when the children go back to school, or feel some sense of loss, as their offspring enter a world of which the parent is not really a part.

Because of all of the changes, family members may feel a sense of emotional overload. In addition to feeling more tired, there may be moodiness or flares of temper. It’s easy to begin overreacting to one another. It can be very helpful to talk about what’s happening, and to acknowledge that this is a time of transition.

Even without all of the pressures of modern life, we would still feel changes within ourselves in response to the changing seasons. These changes are compounded by our lifestyle, and so we can easily forget about the happy, playful side of our being.

So let’s go gently into the fall, and try not to lose our balance.

Gwen Randall-Young is an author and award-winning Psychotherapist.