Ah Summer. Even though it’s so hot you’re sweating through your clothes, there is an unmistakable energy in the air. Kids and teachers are out of school, vacations are in full swing, late sunsets mean you’re more inspired to actually do things after work, and there are more things to see and do outside. People are generally happier and more excited in the summer.
And then a small but very real shift happens. Nights starting coming in a little earlier, all the vacations you had planned have happened, and you have to start adulting again.
Now instead of planning the next trip, couples are budgeting for school clothes and supplies. The thrill of an out-of-routine summer vanishes and gets replaced with planners, Google calendars, back to school nights, alarm clocks, homework, and soccer practice.
And then reality hits.
All those issues that were there before summer re-appear again, except this time you’re more aware of it. Symptoms of anxiety or depression start to creep up a little more, and couples start annoying the hell out of each other.
This is why many therapists book up at the start of fall. People become keenly aware of the issues that may have flown under the radar earlier in the year now that they have experienced something different over the summer. And this awareness, is often the motivation folks need to want to make some changes in their lives.
So if the change of season brings with it some not so happy changes to your life, there are things you can do.
- Call a therapist. You knew I was going to say that didn’t you? You don’t have to weed through the ick alone. If you need help finding, well… help, psychologytoday.com has a great therapist finder. If you aren’t sure what the heck is behind all those acronyms like LMFT and Psy-D then click here for my blog post that breaks it down.
- Sprinkle some of that summer magic into your weekends. Ok, so maybe a cruise is out. But there are plenty of fabulous day trips you can take solo, with a partner or with the kids that will keep you from feeling like you’re stuck in a rut. Explore new places together whether it’s a little town a few hours away, or even a new fancy restaurant that you have been dying to try.
- Plan, plan, plan. Research shows that we LOVE planning vacations and trips. Our brain gets as excited making the plans and anticipating a killer vacation, as it does when we are actually ON the trip. So crack open your calendar and get dreaming ( fun fact for couples– this is a great way to strengthen your relationship as well).
- Don’t isolate yourself. If you’ve had a super social summer, don’t wait until next year to keep the connection going. Late night fire pits may be harder to swing, but penciling in dinner with a friend or loved one doesn’t need to be a giant production. And the rewards of spending time with someone you care about totally make it worth not staying in and Netflixing for the 4th night in a row.
These ideas are just the tip of the iceberg. If you have any more you’d like to share, I’d love to hear them.
You are worthy and capable of living a life you enjoy all year around.