Prepare for a safe and enjoyable summer
By Ruth Mendelson, MSW, LCSW
Hello, Summer Possibilities!
Welcome Summer 2021! We have been waiting for your arrival. Some of us have been more excited than others. Summer 2021, anticipating you has been full of emotions. Like always, you are bringing us longer days, HOTTER days, possible BBQ’s, picnics, pool and beach time, children out of school, and vacations.
And this year, Summer is also bringing many of us the possibility of renewal and return to old ways. Many have more social invitations than last summer, the wedding season has returned, and a LOT of people are going back to their office in various configurations and phases throughout the summer months. We might be finding new ways to do it, but for lots of us, we are enroute to our “new normal.”
Nearly half of the population of people in the United States have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Regardless of if you have received the vaccine or not, lots of people’s sense of summertime excitement and freedom is enhanced by the fact that many COVID-19 mandates have been lifted and infection rates are down.
Which brings us back to feelings and emotions, whether you are dealing with bliss, excitement, joy, pain, anxiety, sadness or depression, or some combination of any of the above or more — this post is meant to support you in dealing with those feelings and emotions by taking a look at stressors and how to manage them.
Helpful Hints about Safety in the Summer
While many of us are feeling the urge to get out of the house and roam this summer, others feel stressed about returning to “normal” and the expectations that brings, the efficacy of vaccinations, and other concerns.
Remember that with the freedom, excitement, or possible dread that summer can bring, there is good reason to heighten our awareness when it comes to the following:
- Bug Bites — wear insect repellent and remember to check for ticks if spending time in wooded areas
- Water Safety — make sure there is a lifeguard on duty, and things like water shoes and swimming with a buddy are extra protective
- Helmets — helmets are a choice but provide safety assurance for both children and adults participating in fun summertime activities like biking, skating, scooting etc.
- Flip-Flops — wear proper footwear based on your activities, sandals and flip flops have their place which is not every day all day for everyone!
- Heat/Sun — stay hydrated, wear loose clothing in cool colors, schedule outdoor activities for earlier or later in the day if possible, and wear sunscreen and reapply often!!
With extra attention paid to the above, some of the stressors that can arise due to summertime and summertime activities may be slightly reduced and potentially enjoyed more. While they may not seem significant, minimizing stressors when possible can truly impact your ability to find greater satisfaction in the season.
What to do when summertime feels like the enemy
While summer is a popular time of year for many of us, not everyone feels the joy that summer can bring, especially in 2021. In fact, some of us dislike summer (which may be completely independent of coming out of a pandemic). For some of the very same reasons that people like summer, people also dislike summer. Did I mention the heat?
Did you also know that Seasonal Affective Disorder while commonly associated with winter, dark and dreary days has a summertime subsect? Summer Seasonal Affective Disorder is lesser known, but real. Often associated with the heat which can make people feel irritable, lethargic and agitated, summertime seasonal affective disorder can bring on feelings of or episodes of depression.
Feeling stress in the summer, especially in the summer of 2021, is real and not to be minimized. By developing/utilizing/leveraging your support system and coping mechanisms, you may be able to better manage the difficulty.
If you are struggling related to the “heat” of summer or summertime blues, please reach out. A licensed therapist or counselor can support you with your concerns.
Ruth enjoys spending time with her family, friends and dog. She loves to cook, spend time outdoors and go to the beach (even when it’s cold outside).
Check out Ruth’s professional bio here!
EWC has locations in Manalapan and Shrewsbury, NJ, and accepts a variety of insurances.
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Next Steps & Resources
- Are you ready to take your first step? Reach out to us.
- Do you feel that you or your child or teen may benefit from counseling during this time? Take the first step.
- Interested in online counseling? Learn more.
- Learn more about Seasonal Affective Disorder
- How to lessen Summertime Stressors