I woke up this morning and looked at the calendar - JULY 19TH?! How did that happen? A common discussion among Mainers in the summer is, “where has the summer gone” and “I feel like the summer is wasting away”. So many spend time reminiscing about “the times when summer felt like eternity”. As you age, it is normal for time to pass by quickly, for responsibilities to outweigh fun. Summer depression is a frustrating and confusing experience in Maine. We panic because we know the warm weather isn’t here for long. It is not uncommon to experience some form of summertime blues. Here are some strategies you may consider if you are in a funk.
1 - Consider your expectations
Time and time again, I come back to this same point. Often we bring ourselves pain from setting our summer expectations too high. (i.e. I will go to the beach every sunny day) It can be a helpful exercise to first look at what our expectations are. Awareness is always the first step towards change. Once you have done that, might it be possible to make any adjustments in your expectations? (i.e. I will visit the beach once every other week) If so, I would recommend giving that a try. Shifting our mindset can be a powerful tool if we are able to do it.
2 - Go berry picking
In your backyard if your lucky or at a friend’s house maybe. Go hunting for wild berries in the woods if you’re up for an adventure. If you are not feeling adventurous, but would like the satisfaction of berries at the end, find a local farm. Check out - https://maxwellsfarm.com/ in Cape Elizabeth.
3 - Plan one FULL day just for YOU
If you are someone who spends a lot of your time doing for others, than this one is meant for you.
4 - Identify an outdoor safe haven that’s close-ish to your house and spend time there.
It doesn’t have to be for long. Maybe it’s on the way home from the grocery store for five minutes. Maybe one day you have the luxury to spend an hour or FOUR! Just make it a point to get there when you can.
5 - Act opposite
Often, when we are feeling depressed, our mind is telling us to stay in bed, watch netflix, isolate, eat lots of high sugar food, drink lots of alcohol, etc. This ends up feeding our depression and we stay stuck in that cycle, yet clawing to get out. If this is your situation, I would urge you to consider acting opposite to the feeling or urge you have to any extent possible. By engaging in opposite behavior, you are more likely to move towards an opposite emotion and less likely to stay stuck. Start small - consider the movie, What About Bob, “baby steps”.
6 - Take a walk and smell all the flowers
If there’s a saying about it, there’s probably a reason...
7 - Spend time in or near water
We live in Maine and are blessed with so many water sources - find one! There is healing power in water. If you absolutely cannot do this at any point in the summer, take a bath! Set the mood first though and make it a whole thing -this is your time.
8 - Seek Inspiration
Do the things on this list seem challenging? Reach out to someone in your life who inspires you. It is totally normal to need support and good practice to find your voice and ask for what you need.
9 - Weed a garden
Your own if you have one. If you don’t, find someone who does and offer to help. They will be eternally grateful for the support. Weeding can be quite therapeutic and the finished product is pretty great to see as well.
10 - Try one new thing
It’s so easy to get stuck, bored, in a funk, and forget the wonder of the world around us. Find playfulness by trying something new - consider asking someone to join you in this adventure. What’s one thing you always wanted to try? Or maybe, what’s one thing you haven’t done since you were just a small kid? (Check out the forts at Fort Williams, stop by your local farmer’s market, try goat yoga at Sunflower Farm in Cumberland, or visit the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay).
Maybe this week you give just one of these a try. With all things, practice compassion with yourself. If these suggestions don’t kick your summer blues, don’t hesitate to reach out to us for a free phone consultation or to schedule an appointment for some additional support. We would love to hear from you - add your own ideas to this list by posting below!