Summer is a tough season for me. It sounds strange to admit and hard to believe, even for me. But once I read this article on summer depression at the start of the season and noticed I identified with a good chunk of it, I realized how many summers of my life have been dictated by sadness and feelings of inferiority. We can call it Summertime Sadness (thanks, Lana!)
What do I mean by sadness? And what does it mean? Here’s a snapshot:
-I feel an overwhelming desire to be active. Which results in injuries every year.
-I feel the pressure to be outside and ENJOYING the weather. Which results in stress from staying home.
-I worry that I am not doing enough with my life. And then wallow in thoughts.
-I have the desire to be social. Agree to every shower, wedding, event, whether I can afford it or not.
-I have the need to “live my best life.” Drink a lot.
Because of the above it is now not strange to find myself coming out of a four week funk. Notice how I haven’t posted on here since the first day of summer? Have you noticed the lack of care and attention to detail on my Instagram? I’ve been sad, confused, tired, stressed. On top of the regular pressure I put on myself every summer, I also experienced a brush with cervical cancer (I have low level pre-cancer) which made all of the regular sad feelings I have go into a tailspin. Whereas I’ve been able to manage my sadness every summer season, this year it was nearly impossible. Or, felt impossible at times.
I share this because it’s embarrassing. I share this because it isn’t the “norm” because we tend to only talk about sadness and depression at certain times or places. Isn’t winter and lack of sunshine supposed to get a person down? Not beaches and sun and margaritas? Turns out they can. And that it’s normal. And that’s totally worth writing about.
It is so funny (not really/kinda) to go back and remember summers of my past. I was down a lot of the time but since summer was supposed to be “fun”, I repressed my sadness. I remember so many times feeling ungrateful for childhood vacations because no matter what I did I was sad. I remember feeling like I was missing out on everything. Feeling unwanted, unloved. It was rough!
On the plus side, I always did my best writing in the summer. Silver lining my friends.
I am slowly coming back to life after feeling like I’d never feel ok again. My injuries are healing, I am taking it slow, and I am learning to love myself in a new way. I’ve always wanted to be gentle with myself but it has been hard to know how. Recognizing this part of me is such a huge leap in the process. All along the advice was out there, I just chose to ignore it. And that advice is this:
Summer is for slowing down. Taking stock of what you HAVE, not what you don’t have. Spending time with people you truly like and love. Spending time in silence. Spending time with nature. Summer’s heat causes you to take a break, remove yourself, leave the days open ended.
I remember being a little girl and spending hours laying in the grass and watching the clouds. There wasn’t guilt for a day wasted. Guilt for not texting someone back. Stress that I have more to do. Of course, my responsibilities were just a *bit* less of a load, but I remember that feeling fondly and I am working toward finding a way to get back to that or as close as I can.
Here’s a list of what I’ve been doing to get back to this vibe and also get out of this year’s summer funk:
-Moving gently (taking walks, stretching)
-Taking supplements that support well being (Moon Juice, collagen, digestive enzymes)
-Seeing professionals for pain management (a pain specialist, physical therapy, massages, acupuncture)
-Saying what I feel, doing what I want to do
-Selectively scheduling my time
-Meditating and journaling every morning
-Doing fun things for me (getting my nails done, buying new books)
Do you feel summer pressure or summer sadness? If you feel like talking about it please write to me! I’m very intrigued by it now and I’d love to hear from others to continue to explore it.