As any parent of a young child knows, kids get sick suddenly and for no reason, it seems. Our house has been no exception to this. This morning, my kindergarten-aged son woke up with a fever and had to stay home, missing his kindergarten celebration at school. My husband and I were looking forward to seeing their end of year show, but taking care of my son, who was clearly not well, was foremost. In Upstate NY, today was our first real taste of summer weather – humid and sunny in the afternoon, temperatures reaching 80 degrees, long sunlit afternoon and evening. However, my son’s fever kept us mostly inside, with the AC on, and I started thinking …. does anyone else feel confined, isolated, missing out, depressed during the summer?
Most people have either experienced or heard of depression in the winter, but have you heard of it affecting people in the summer? Depression factors seem obvious in the winter – less daylight, holiday build-up and slump, social media, parties, and obligations. But how about depression during the summer, a summer bummer? Longer daylight hours can affect sleep. Less hours of sleep, or quality of sleep, as we all know, can make us irritable and emotional. If a house doesn’t have blackout blinds or a decent air conditioner, sleep can be restless and elusive.
Additionally, summer is the time of year that most families vacation. With the social media movement, vacation and event pictures are posted at rapid rates for all to see. As with most side effects of social media, which I detest more and more, there seems to be some unwritten competition on who posts the most awesome and eventful pictures. In my opinion, just because you aren’t’ posting your entire album of pics from whatever trip or event you are on, doesn’t mean that amazing memories or photos were missed. It just means that they weren’t posted and perhaps you don’t need to see everything that happened on vacation. Also, it doesn’t mean more vacations and more events equals more happiness. My advice, don’t worry about posting the pictures for everyone on Facebook or Snapchat to see. Just enjoy the time with those you enjoy being with, unplug for a while, be present in your adventures!
Summertime depression can also come from a sense of being left out or isolated. With the countless amounts of concerts, farmers markets, festivals, parties, and gatherings, it’s normal to feel left out or as though you are missing out on something. Try not to feel left out or as thought you are missing something. You are exactly where you are meant to be. Even with the increased amount of activity comes a sense of chaos or loss of control of a household rhythm, as there is more of during the school year. As I sat in my living room on a glorious summer afternoon with the air conditioner blasting and watching Teen Titans Go Movie, again, I couldn’t help but feel a little bummed that I wasn’t outside absorbing in the blaring sunshine and taking my son somewhere on an afternoon adventure.
So here is what I have to offer for those feelings a little blue this summer: 1. You are not alone in feeling this way. It happens to more people than you think; so reach out if you are struggling. 2. Not everyone is as happy as they appear online. I have been noticing that many of the people who post constantly how wonderful and numerous their vacations are, are often truly unhappy and insecure themselves. 3. Take the pictures to capture the moment, but then put the phone down. Be in the moment and enjoy. Soak it all in. If you feel the need to post, do it later. Before you know it, they will be back in school and the snow will start falling again. 4. Invest in blackout blinds/shades and a good air conditioner. It gets humid and hot for about two months in Upstate NY and both are needed for any chance of sleep, which leads to #5 …. 5. Get your rest! Sleep will not only restore your health and heal your sun kissed skin, but it will do wonders on your mood and stamina throughout the day.
So, get out there and enjoy the summer. It doesn’t last long. Absorb what Vitamin D you can, because you can’t get it from food; Stay up late and sleep in with your kids, if you can; Make memories and strengthen bonds. 🙂 Here’s to a happy summer!