The end of the school year causes all sorts of emotions.
Some students go home to families and friends. Some are happy to have a long break from school. Some are moving into new living situations.
Not everyone feels excited when the end of term comes.
Not everyone will have “fun in the sun” this summer. Leaving the city and returning to rural towns can make people feel isolated. If you’re a person who gets energy from being around other people, you may find yourself feeling drained from missing the social interactions of university.
This extra time could be an opening for negative thoughts to creep in.
While occasionally feeling down is healthy – make sure you’re not letting excessive negative emotions take control of your life.
If you find you’re experiencing negative feelings every summer, it could be seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
SAD is a type of depression related to changes in seasons. Most often, this disorder is associated with occurring in the fall and winter months, but it can also happen in the spring and summer.
If you think you may have SAD, use the summer to seek out a mental health professional.
If seeing a professional isn’t an option there are many useful coping strategies to manage negative thoughts and feelings, both disorder-related and not. Here are some helpful coping techniques that may help ease the summer blues.
Try new hobbies or exercise.
Use spare time to your advantage by trying a new sport. Try hiking, trying yoga, swimming, or learn to play a new instrument. Working on a project or gaining a new talent won’t only keep your mind off negative things, but also give you a sense of pride and accomplishment. Exercise is proven to ease depression.
Download a mental health app for your phone!
There are some great apps out there like What’s Up, Pacifica, and Mindshift that can help manage unpleasant feelings. Try a couple out and find one that’s right for you. These are great resources you can carry everywhere you go.
Talk to people.
Letting others know how you feel can be scary, but can be very rewarding. Find someone you feel comfortable with and start a conversation. Reaching out will get things off your chest, give you some support and the person you sought help from will most likely be grateful that you opened up. They care about you, and you never know, they might need someone to talk to as well!
Avoid the temptation to self-medicate using alcohol or drugs.
These may seem like easy ways to get rid of any unwanted emotions, but they are temporary, and there are dangers to self-medicating.
Don’t ignore your feelings!
Allow yourself to worry. Take time to be sad. Trying to suppress negative feelings can cause them to come out at inconvenient times, or bubble up until you reach a boiling point. Gain control of your emotions by dealing with them on your terms how you want to, when you want to. Remember they are valid.
Whether it’s unpleasant emotions that aren’t disorder-related, or if it’s the return of a recurring mental health issue like SAD, focus on self-care this summer to help ease the summer blues.