“Cause there ain’t no cure for the summertime blues.” Cue my best Alan Jackson karaoke voice. I feel like summer is best known for fun, carefree time with family while traveling. Very few people talk about the over stimulation from being out of routine, your kids being home 24/7, and the added stress of extra time with family that anxiety and depression can bring. It can be a hard season and easy to fall into a slump. I know this because this month has been a struggle. I also know that if I am struggling, some of our readers may be struggling as well. So this article is for us.
These are some of the ways that I have found to help in combating the summertime blues:
Tell Someone You Trust
I am very blessed that my husband and best friend are the people I can go to with zero judgment and get things off my chest. They are also the people to whom I can tell, “Hey, I’m struggling,” and they check on me daily with no judgment to make sure I am okay and doing what I need to battle my anxiety. Everyone needs these people in their life. Of course, it doesn’t have to be your partner or best friend, but someone in whom you can confide. It can be your therapist, your sibling, your parents — it doesn’t matter as long as they are there for you to listen without judgment and help. You do not have to battle the summertime blues alone. If you are too scared to talk to the people close to you in fear of judgment, that is okay. I have listed some resources below to utilize so you do not have to go through this season alone.
Anxiety Treatment Center & Hospital in Chattanooga, TN
Start A Summertime Routine
Lesson learned in week one of this summer vacation season: You definitely do not have to have a super strict routine, but creating one is essential in helping me stay focused and out of my slump. This will help you make sure you are scheduling time to take care of yourself and do the things that will help ease those symptoms of anxiety and depression. My routine is simple. I started one that includes me waking up before the kids instead of them waking me up. Also, I have a few minutes in the evening when my husband gets home from work which allows me some time to myself. I realized quickly (with the kids home 24/7 and basically no activities that get us out of the house), that I have to have this time to recharge and reset. This routine of course will not work for everyone, but the important part is coming up with a routine that works for you. Here is an article that helped me when working out a routine for my family for this summer.
Hold Your Boundaries
Summertime brings travel and more time with extended family. This can be a trigger for some. Set boundaries and hold them. Do not feel badly about this. It is so important for you to do what is best for yourself and family. If you are stressed and a situation causes your anxiety or depression to flare, your children will feel this too. Work together with your spouse to set and hold boundaries so you are okay. Also, if certain activities cause you stress (the pool, the splash pad, over crowded spaces, etc.), set limits. This can mean things like setting time limits at the pool. After three hours at the pool, I know that is my limit. Let’s be honest: Playing lifeguard, snack dealer, and referee can only last so long before one is given out, so set the expectation before arriving. Tell your kids, “We will be leaving at this time,” this way they know it is coming, they expect it, and there is less fuss. Trust me on this one, it helps. Do not over extend yourself this summer and cause unneeded stress.
This is the easiest advice I can give that has actually helped me. I thought this practice sounded really silly at first, but after giving it a try, I realized it really does help. I have started practicing the 5-4-3-2-1 grounding technique. It is a practice that makes you redirect your focus and calm racing thoughts. For more information on great grounding practices, check out this article which I found helpful when searching for techniques to calm my thoughts.
Tune Out Social Media
I know this may sound ironic since you most likely stumbled across this article on social media, but social media is a trigger for so many. I don’t know about you, but I find myself playing the comparison game each time I sign on, thinking that I should be doing so much more with my family and that I should feel guilty for not feeling #blessed all the time. To combat this, I have started limiting my time there, especially during seasons in which I am struggling. Set daily time limits for yourself. I can only speak for iPhones (here is a step by step guide for setting this up on your iPhone), but I am sure Androids have similar features that allow you to set daily limits and send notifications when you have spent too much time on certain apps. This has been a game changer and has allowed me to be more present with my family while appreciating the moments we are sharing together.
Take It Slow
This one is hard for me. I am sure it is hard for so many other parents as well. In a world that is constantly telling us to “go, go, go,” it can be challenging. Tuning out social media has helped with this, but I felt like this needed its own segment in my article. Do not feel like you have to get the whole summer bucket list done in one day. I promise no one is out there judging how many activities you got done each day with your family. So slow down in this season. Sit out on the porch each evening while your kids play and relax. Do not feel the societal pressure to get it all done at once. Set realistic goals and expectations that allow you to take it at your pace. Life is short, but don’t forget to slow down and savor the moments.