We normally view summer as possibly the best time of the year, especially when we are younger and have it off. There is something about knowing that the weather is going to get warmer, that we can wear shorts and t-shirts outside without freezing, and that even if we can’t enjoy summer vacation (adult life sure has its drawbacks), we can still enjoy reminiscing about all the things that this season reminds us of.
The cliche view of summer is one devoid of problems, where we can be more carefree and less stressful. A time of the year where our mental health is at its best and we don’t feel hindered or like we are struggling with our illness. This is true for a lot of people and often it is the winter that causes the most issues with mental health, but there are still those who struggle during the summer. Despite its idealistic and theoretical brightening of the days and our lives, the summer can still be a time where a lot of us are struggling, even when we don’t have school or classes to worry about.
For a lot of us, the structure of the year is what keeps us calm. We need to have a set schedule and structure to our everyday lives in order to function the way that we need. For children or teenagers who struggle with ADHD, they can have systems in place during the year to help them focus and get their work done, but in the summer, those structures go away. Suddenly, they are left without a schedule or the resources they had to keep themselves in a good place, causing their mental health to deteriorate.
Under the Sun
Beyond just ADHD, summer can create feelings of anxiety and depression. Summer could mean that a child doesn’t get to see their friends every day, something that is almost an unspoken benefit of going to school. For the children who don’t feel at peace at home or who feel uncomfortable being there, they depend on the school to be their escape from it all. It helps them to cope with whatever pain or emotional toll they feel at home. During the summer, they don’t have that anymore; their consistent outlet for escape is gone and they are constantly surrounded by the environment they have tried to get away from.
For adults, summer is a much more social season as the warmer weather allows us to get out and do more things. But for us adults who struggle with depression, we can feel down about our social life. We may have expectations for it that aren’t met and we are suddenly left feeling like we don’t matter. If the heat and weather get to be too much (especially for those of us in more humid or desert areas), that can also cause a negative reaction in our bodies and cause us to feel worse. For children, it comes down to the structure they are missing, for adults it comes down to how their lives are affected by summer and its heat.
Relief at the Ready
There are plenty of options for someone who is struggling. Adults can easily seek the same kind of treatment or help from a professional or just speak about their emotions. For children, it’s a little tougher as it always is. A good thing to do is to set expectations and goals at the beginning of the summer so that they have something to work towards. Perhaps they join a sports club or a summer play production. There are plenty of local events going on in your town that you can find by just taking a little time to look. If they aren’t your child, then that is even more difficult, but you can offer a safe place for them to come to. If they are the friends of your children, invite them over on specific days of the week; give them something that they know will happen every week for them to look forward to. You don’t have to help them with their emotions and mental health specifically, but you can do your part to make it a little happier for them.
Seasons are strange in the way that they affect all of us in different ways. Some can love the winter while others shut themselves in until it’s over. Others will embrace the summer as soon as it’s around the corner and others will count the days until it is over. Everyone is different and everyone will have different reactions. What’s important is that we continue to take the steps to help us minimize the negative effects. Stopping ourselves from falling into a rut is completely in our hands, and we have the power to make our own happiness at any time of the year. No matter the weather, go out and find your joy.
If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with anxiety or mental illness, do not hesitate to contact the team here at True Recovery. Our program, founded in 2014, is built around finding what’s best for you to overcome your addiction. Our facility is located in Newport Beach, California, with our supportive housing located close to our campus in Costa Mesa. Take advantage of the local beaches, nature preserves, and Orange County community while we fight for you. Contact us at (866) 399-6528.