Fall is fast approaching, but rays of summer sunshine will still be with us for a little while longer. You may find yourself feeling pretty down in the dumps after all of these long, hot days. Don't freak out—this is normal. 4 to 6% of the population suffers from Summertime Seasonal Affective Disorder, and this happens for different reasons. It could be due to disrupted schedules, financial worries, body image issues, the heat itself; everyone's different. Some may feel sadder than normal because the "relaxation vibe" of the warm months are coming to an end, and that can be anxiety-inducing.
No matter the reason for your ups and downs, it's still vitally important to take care of yourself and make sure you're prioritizing your needs. Check out these tips to help you beat the summer blues and make way for autumn.
Treat yourself to "me time" once a week
We at Social Sunday are huge advocates for self-care time. Sometimes you need to take a break from everyone and be in the company of only you to de-stress and breathe. It's nothing to feel guilty about! Set aside one (or two, if you'd like) times a week for you time. Draw a bubble bath with essential oils and a gorgeous bath bomb, break out the face masks, throw all your sheets into the washer with a big scoop of fabric softener, sleep in until the late afternoon if that's what you need; take time to unwind and pamper yourself, whether it's a weekday morning or an entire Sunday. Set your phone to "do not disturb" mode to really unplug, that way no texts or calls come in to distract you and make you anxious.
Find a creative outlet
It can be hard to motivate yourself to do much of anything when you're feeling down, but you don't have to take huge steps all at once. For errands like grocery shopping, paying bills and going to the dentist, keep track of everything in a cute planner you won't lose and write EVERYTHING down! Take it one day at a time. We suggest keeping yourself busy with a creative outlet, whether it's photography, working on your Instagram "brand," journaling, cooking, or all of the above. Redirect your energy into something where you can see tangible results, and it will feel satisfying.
Don't let your physical health fall to the wayside
Physical health is just as important as mental health. Your diet can play a huge role in what's going in inside your head, so make sure you up your water intake and eat plenty of greens and other veggies, proteins and fruits. Adding these to your diet doesn't have to be a chore—buy salad ingredients like kale, nuts, tortilla strips, sun-dried tomatoes and peppers for a healthy side you'll actually look forward to.
Exercise when you can, even if this is a simple walk around the block in the afternoon. Little bits of progress will add up over time! Yoga and meditation are excellent ways to exercise and clear your mind at the same time. Yoga's been shown to calm physical symptoms of anxiety like reducing the heart rate, lowering blood pressure, and easing respiration.
Schedule regular appointments with a counselor or therapist
There’s a certain stigma attached with going to see a mental health professional, and we know it can be nerve-wracking and anxiety-inducing on top of everything else; let’s be honest, even talking about jumbled up feelings with your girlfriends can sometimes be hard. But it is never anything to be embarrassed about. Even if you're not suffering from anything mental health-related, it's healthy to go and speak someone on a regular basis. Let everything out that's been bottled up inside you, and we promise you'll begin to feel better.
Use the Internet as a resource, too. You can click here to learn the difference between mental health professionals and see which one may suit you. And of course, we always recommend having a quick chat with your doctor about how you're doing and see if she/he has suggestions for you.
Have any self-care tips you'd like to share with us? Let us know in the comments.