Summer can be a time of refreshment or it can be draining. Some of this depends on circumstances, and some depends on your viewpoint of those circumstances! Let’s focus on the part we have the most say over: our view of things. Remember – how you think and behave affects how you feel, so choosing to focus on the positive aspects can have an impact on your outlook.
If you dread the heat, chaotic work schedules due to co-worker vacations, or having the kids home all day long, focusing on what you dread only enhances it. Instead, acknowledge the down sides, but don’t allow these to rule your emotions. How can you do this?
Start by becoming mindful of what’s going on inside you. Don’t judge how you feel–just notice. Once aware of these emotions, you can choose to let them be, or do something to have an impact. Coping skills can involve allowing yourself to feel the emotion for what it is, distracting yourself by engaging in a different behavior, or choosing to focus on positive things in your life.
One great way is to adjust your self-talk. Instead of only the internal groan, acknowledge the reality of the situation: “Things do change during the summer months, and I sure don’t like it. But there are other things I enjoy, such as… [list them].” The truth is that both positive and negative exist in a given situation, and you have control over which you attend to the most.
Many people benefit from keeping a gratitude journal. The Five Minute Journal is one easy way to do this. Let’s break it up into morning and evening sessions.
Grab a notebook and pen, and answer these morning reflections: 1) Three things I’m grateful for, 2) What would make today great? and 3) Daily Affirmation: I am….
Later in the day, do some evening reflections: 4) Three amazing things that happened today, and 5) How could I have made today better?
Take advantage of the positive aspects of summer weather.
- Eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, especially those that are in-season. Maybe even try some new ones! Buying from a local farm market is a fun way to do this.
- Get outdoors! Click to read about How Walking in Nature Changes Your Brain from a NY Times article. Be sure to take sun precautions that are fitting to your physical condition.
- Go to the water. Any type will do: creek, river, lake, ocean, pond, swimming pool, backyard wading pool or sprinkler. There is something refreshing and calming about water–use it! Remember your sun precautions here, too.
Enjoy your summer!
P.S. I’m always here to help. If you are struggling or feel stuck trying to deal with particular emotions or situations, you might need to talk to someone one-on-one. Just give me a call at 636-234-0035 or fill out the contact form to send me a message.and we’ll schedule a time to talk. My office is conveniently located in downtown Washington Missouri across from the Old Dutch Restaurant.
I look forward to helping you feel better!
Katie Walker, Licensed Professional Counselor