I have a surprising confession to make: I do not love summer. It feels like I'm committing heresy admitting to this, but it is my least favorite season. As the days get longer, the birds sing earlier, and FOMO (fear of missing out) creeps in, I grieve the loss of quiet comforting winter.
It's more common to hear about Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) during the gray winter months of the Midwest, but more than 10% of the population experiences SAD in the summer! For a long while, I thought it was just me and my introverted nature, but I have learned to embrace my anti-summer shame— and now I manage the season in ways that are authentic and self-nurturing.
Luxurious days of warmth, bursts of bright sun and an endless array of summer activities can be invigorating and foster connection with others. It can also lead to to symptoms of depression for a variety of reasons. Increased heat and humidity can be physically uncomfortable which drives people inside to find respite. Over time, longer periods of escape indoors can increase feelings of loneliness, isolation, and sadness. Higher temperatures can also prevent people from cooking nutritious meals and encourages the easy reach for fast or convenience foods. Mood is significantly impacted by unbalanced meals and can make the season even more emotionally challenging.
Routine grounds me and when I can follow a schedule, I feel purposeful. Summer brings languid days, lolling afternoons out on the deck, and long breaks from work and home. The loss of the scaffolding which gives order to the passing days and weeks can leave some feeling untethered. Lack of structure during the summer may leave you feeling depleted and without center which can cave into depression as well.
Other “hardships” of summer may include increased financial strains with the extra activities, such as vacations, festivals, and long weekends. These summer fun plans can also put pressure to look a particular way, or to have your “beach body” on. These type of false premises of having or being enough can also erode self-esteem and contribute to depression.
I encourage you to take charge of the summer, and approach the season differently. Here are some ideas to consider:
- Plan Ahead. Make sure your calendar isn’t stuffed to the brim. Give yourself permission to attend only the events that are a “resounding yes” for you and take some down time when you need it.
- Know Your Budget and Plan Accordingly. Look for free events in your neighborhood or plan one of my personal favorites, a staycation and take time off in your own back yard.
- Keep Your Meals Fresh. Dig into fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables. Fill your plate with colorful salads, salsas and even veggie kabobs which will keep you nourished, hydrated and in a better mood.
- Keep Your Meals Light. Avoid the fried and heavier foods that show up at backyard barbecues. Substitute greek yogurt for mayonnaise or sour cream in potato and pasta salads.
- Be Comfortable in Your Own Skin. Wear clothes that make you feel happy and good about yourself, even if that means bucking the current summer fashion trend. You are beautiful no matter what you wear.
Feeling an Increase of Sadness, Isolation, Loss of Appetite, Weight Loss, or Difficulty Sleeping?
You may be experiencing more than the summer blues. I can help.
At the Center for Vitality and Balance we work with women to create a client-centered and integrative plan towards well-being and healing for the whole self.
Schedule a complimentary 30-minute consultation and let me help you discover your best self.