I’m rushing to write this before I embark on six hours of travel soccer on a Sunday. This is after six hours of practice on Saturday. The joys of coaching all three of my daughters’ soccer teams.

This is on top of an email inbox that has gotten out of control, a calendar suddenly packed with appointments and a to do list that is seemingly endless.

I imagine my situation is far from unique.

Kids are now all back to school. For grown ups, work is now back in full swing.

While our summers are often full of anticipation. Our falls often start with a load of expectations. The abrupt transition from a season of “want to’s” to “have to’s” can naturally feel overwhelming.

But does it need to be?

If we are all in the same proverbial boat, what can’t we give each other more slack and less flack?

One reason why we don’t is that anxiety can be contagious. If I’m feeling uptight over what I have to do, I can in turn spread that to my kids, my wife and my co-workers. Each time, potentially adding to whatever anxiety they were already feeling.

During summer, we are generally more relaxed and accommodating. We respect boundaries between work and life more. We understand when people don’t get to something you need because they were on vacation. We put less pressure on ourselves and on others.

When fall rolls around it can feel like going from 0-60 in the blink of an eye. But why?

If we are relaxed, kind and flexible with each other in August, why can’t we be in September?

We should borrow a lesson from nature. The transition from summer to fall is marked by the gradual and beautiful change in foliage. Leaves don’t change colors overnight, so perhaps neither should we.

As we go back to school or work, let’s also have each other’s back. We don’t have to pretend it’s still summer – it actually is until September 22nd.

So take a deep breath. Lower your expectations. Find something you can anticipate and look forward to, continue to spend time on your “want to’s”, and shorten that to-do list to a few manageable things each day. Most importantly, let’s try to keep our own anxiety in check — and do what we can to ease it in others.

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