Longer days and warmer weather are on the way. For most people, summertime is a good time of year.
It can also be very helpful for people with seasonal affective disorder (SAD), but many others may feel pressured by the extra time in the day and feel guilty for not enjoying themselves.
For many depressed people, going to bed is sadly the best part of their day. Here are some things you can do to combat the summertime blues.
1. Be grateful that this isn’t last year. Remember how we were locked down in many areas and even Disneyland was closed? California and many other states are lifting their mask mandates and expecting things will mostly be back to normal this summer. And that’s something we can all be at least a little happy about.
2. Plan some kind of a summer adventure. Maybe it’s in your own town, or maybe you will travel to a place that holds fond memories or somewhere you’ve never been before to create new ones. Whatever your choice, a lot of joy can be found in the planning process. Whether you are going to travel on your own or with a group, your family, or just your partner, figuring out everything you’d like to do once you get to your destination is a big part of the fun. It’s also a good way to lift you out of a funk. Happiness comes from making future plans, so try it.
3. Honor any concerns about the virus. It’s understandable to still be nervous about COVID. If you are, then continue your protocols and stay safe, but look to taking more walks in your hometown, and commit to discovering new things in your own backyard.
It is amazing how just planting a few flowers and watching them bloom helps you blossom internally as well. If that doesn’t work for you, there is always the option of a good garage cleaning. Once you start on home improvement projects, it can become a fulfilling part of your routine.
4. Add a new dimension to your lifestyle. If you didn’t learn a foreign language or invent the next big thing during the lockdown, welcome to the biggest club in the world.
This summer is your chance to do something fun that makes you feel good about yourself. You can take up the guitar and have campfire sing-alongs or learn one of the new soft sports like paddle boarding. The idea is to do something different from the norm but that’s relaxing as well as a little exciting.
5. Reconnect with good friends and loving family. What a difference being around other people can make! I found that the first handshake I received in a year actually made me feel good — and an unexpected hug, even better. Socializing and working with fully vaccinated people makes this a little easier.
Adding joy back into your world, while still being appropriately cautious, is going to make the summer of 2021 a lot more fun than last year. Most of us need to play a little bit, and summertime brings up thoughts of jumping off piers and walking along a beautiful trail.
This is the stuff of life, and being in nature or bringing it to you is a natural healer for the summertime blues.
Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D., LMFT, is an award-winning therapist and writer. He is a columnist, blogger and the author of seven books, including “Visualization For Success — 75 Psychological Empowerment Exercises To Get You What You Want In Life.” Reach him at email@example.com.