Summertime evokes pleasant childhood memories for many of us- riding bikes around the neighborhood, hearing the jingling of the ice cream truck, running under sprinklers, cannonballing into a pool, playing outside until the streetlights turn on.
Then we grow up and start “adulting”. Though we can be grateful we aren’t shoveling snow and it’s not dark at 4 pm, there are stressors associated with summer for many of us.
See if you can relate to any of these statements:
“Summer is here and I’m not sure what I’m doing about child care.”
“My son’s ADHD medication is decreased for the summer and he is acting out.”
“I’m a college student and I can’t find a job.”
“I plan lots of trips in the summer, which causes a lot of anxiety for me.”
“I don’t feel like I can really relax in the summer because there is so much I should be doing.”
“I suffer from depression and feel ashamed if I stay in bed for a weekend in the summer; in the winter, no one asks questions.”
We may not be wearing seven layers of wool sweaters, but summertime can still be uncomfortable. There are things we can do to prepare for summer and maintain or achieve a more positive summer experience.
If you are in therapy, don’t stop attending. Taking a break for the summer isn’t always a wise plan. Talk with your therapist about revisiting your schedule to include vacation time and plan any breaks from therapy sessions.
Make a bucket list. Make a list of no more than 6 goals for the summer. These can be travel goals, household projects, or trying something new like volunteering or an outdoor sport or activity. Setting goals can help you feel focused and grounded.
Rest. The increase in daylight and changes in daily routine often lead to later nights and earlier mornings. Try to maintain some stability in your routine and sleep patterns.
Structure your time. Try to structure your time, even for recreational and fun activities. Giving yourself some structure will help you balance work, recreation, and bucket list goals.
Take a “stay-cation”! Vacationing and travel in general requires a great deal of planning and effort. Consider taking some time to relax and enjoy your local community and home. It’s a great way to rejuvenate and rest without the jetlag.
If you are having trouble sleeping, experiencing significant anxiety, losing weight, or feeling depressed in the summer, you’re not alone. Reach out to family, friends, and professionals to see how you can access therapeutic services to support your mental health.
Take care of yourself. Even in the summertime. And in winter, spring, and fall.