There is a Cure for the Summertime Blues


I have never lived anywhere else where when you walk outside in the summer you not only feel like you have walked into a sauna, you also want to change your shirt after just walking from your car to your office (Tallahassee).

At the same time, I really can't imagine ever living anywhere else. I'm not so much complaining as I am pointing out that these 4-H days (hot, humid, hazy, and one hundred degrees) have quite a powerful effect on people. These days seem to bring on a certain malaise in folks, what I call not just the summertime blues, but the 4-H summertime blues.

Let's looks at several different types of summertime blues, and what we can do about them.

GENERIC SUMMERTIME BLUES

For some people, the heat simply wears them out and keeps them inside. The heat saps their energy and motivation. Once inside, it's very easy to become inactive, lethargic, and get a little bit of cabin fever. You wind up getting most of your exercise from channel surfing.

Suggestions:

Get outside! Take the necessary precautions, just get outside.

Malls, gyms and theaters are air-conditioned. Go do something. How many reruns can you watch, looking at other people live while you waste away?

INVERSE CHILDHOOD BLUES

Part of the problem with summer is we have gotten something backward in our culture. Here's what I mean. When we were kids, we had the summer off, and even if we knew what we wanted to do, we didn't have the money or the ability to do it. Now that we are adults, we know more of what we want to do, may have some discretionary income to spend, and we have to work all summer.

Suggestions:

What's one thing you always wanted to do as a child that you could do now, maybe even just a little?

Do something child-like. A squirt gun fight or a slip-and-slide in the front yard could be a blast.

TRANSITION BLUES

For some people, the beginning of summer brings a time of transition, such as a graduation, or perhaps an impending move. Whatever it may be, transition involves the end of one phase of life, and with it, a possible sense of loss. While this may be called good stress, it's still stress. Transition also involves the beginning of another phase of life.

Suggestions:

Make room for the sadness that the end of one phase of life can bring.

Celebrate the accomplishments of the phase of life that is ending.

Make room for the excitement a new stage of life can bring. What can you look forward to with anticipation? What is something you can do now that you couldn't do before?

VACATION BLUES

For some people, vacations can be the most stressful time of the year. Trying to cram a year's worth of leisure and living into a few days or two weeks can be exhausting.

Suggestions:

Think small, aim low, go slow. Trash the itinerary and have fun.

Consider vacationing at home. It can be incredibly restful. And inexpensive.

POST-VACATION BLUES

This is what psychologists call "post-reinforcement pause." What this means is a slump after lots of good stuff. Sometimes coming back to the same routine can be very difficult. This is even more difficult when you feel like you need a vacation from your vacation.

Suggestions:

Come back in time to give yourself at least a day of transition between vacation and work.

Make several small vacations instead of one large one.

Make sure you have something else to look forward to after your vacation.

CHRONIC BLUES

Chronic blues can be defined as pervasive sadness or depression. Chronic blues are experienced by people who are already feeling sad or depressed, and the summer heat just seems to intensify the problem. Sometimes even well-meaning friends, in their efforts to cheer you up, can make you feel worse. If you recognize yourself in this category, try the suggestions I've already mentioned and make an appointment with your doctor and then a good therapist.

There's no shame in asking for help if you feel depressed; the only shame is in not asking for help.

While summer is traditionally a time to relax and enjoy, it's not always that way for everyone. If you find yourself in any of the above categories, use these suggestions for curing the summertime blues.

For more tips and tools for successful living, you are invited to visit Jeff Herring's www.toolsforsuccessfulliving.com">ToolsforSuccessfulLiving.com


MORE RESOURCES: