Seasons do effect people and summer is no exception. Many people feel better in the summer because the pace is more laid back, they can take vacations, and the days are longer. For some, however, the summer months are a struggle. If this is a hard season for you it may be due to lack of structure and routine, friends and family being away on vacation, or lack of stimulation on long days that cause you to feel down. Perhaps you have summer memories of someone who is gone and you wish they were still here. To overcome the things you can’t change, you have to take advantage of the things you can.
Go outside. Some people avoid the heat at all costs and that is certainly understandable, but you cannot let the long hot days keep you in the house. When grieving you have a tendency to withdraw and maybe even sleep a lot because sleep is an escape. Neither of these will help you heal. The longer days of summer give you more opportunities to get out even if it is in an air-conditioned car, restaurant, store or mall. Garden in the early morning or late afternoon. Sit own the porch and drink coffee. Don’t stay shut in with the curtains closed. You need the clarity of daylight and the benefit of a little vitamin D from the sun. You need a feeling of accomplishment. Get out and face the day head on.
Invite someone. A person that is grieving will often sit at home alone feeling left behind by everyone else who is moving on with there regular routines. Meanwhile your regular routine has been interrupted permanently. Do not wait to be invited, invite someone. Don’t just watch the activities friends, family, kids, grandkids and wish you were a part of it. Invite them to do something. It doesn’t have to be a full-blown vacation. Invite them to dinner, take the kids to a waterpark or pool, or go out with a friend for a of cup of coffee and a little catching up. When you are grieving you don’t realize that you often send signals to others that you want to be left alone. Take the initiative and show people you want to spend time with them.
Get exercise. If you are not a warm weather person you tend to avoid activities that will make you hot. The benefits of exercise on improving emotional health are tremendous. You cannot afford to waste this precious resource. It helps fulfill your need for routine and empowerment. It gives accomplishment and you see positive physical results. It releases the gift of natural endorphins which will elevate your mood. Find ways to take advantage of these benefits. If the heat is an issue, there are ways to get exercise and avoid excessive heat. Swimming is an excellent choice. The water keeps you cool and most communities have indoor pool options. For aerobic or weight training, more and more gyms are opening up in which you can get exercise in an air-conditioned environment for as little as $10 a month. Even if you choose to play golf or walk in your neighborhood, the longer daylight hours can help. Just get up early or go out after dinner when the sun is not out but there is still daylight. Take an indoor dancing class. Just move.
August ushers in the dog days of summer and it is a great time to leverage your opportunities for positive change. Grief takes your power away and to overcome it you must regain some power where you can. Summer offers opportunities to heal.