Published July 12, 2017

Summertime Sadness

For most of us, summer is a time of joy and relaxation. The birds are singing, flowers are in bloom, and there is no shortage of cultural events to attend around the city. But what if summer doesn’t feel so sweet? For those us us still fighting the winter blues, summer can be a time of increased anxiety – everyone around us seems carefree and happy, so why aren’t we?

Summer can be isolating for those of us struggling with mental illness. Pressure to socialize is at an all-time high, and it’s easy to feel like we’re doing something wrong. Having dreaded barbeque season for years now myself, I’ve picked up a few strategies to ease the June blues. While I’m not quite a clinical psychologist, my informal strategies might just work for you.

1. Commit to a week of nightly journaling.

You don’t need to write a novel, or a poem, or an award-winning story. Focus instead on recounting what happened that day, good and bad. End with three things you are thankful for in life.

2. Do 30 minutes of exercise every day.

Or every day you remember. Pick an exercise you truly enjoy – if running by the lakeshore puts your mind at ease, go for that. If dancing in your pajamas rocks your boat, even better.

3. Take a break from social media.

While social media has connected millions of people around the world, it can also be terribly isolating. Although we all know real life doesn’t come with filters, that can be easy to forget when your feed is swamped with #travelgoals. A three-day break can help you reset, recharge, and get back in touch with reality.

4. Attend a pug grumble at Trinity Bellwoods.

Okay, I confess—I’ve never actually made it to one of these. That said, I’m a strong believer in therapy dogs and animals as a source of comfort in general. It’s difficult not to feel good—even if only temporarily—in a gaggle(?) of pugs.

5. Reach out if you still need help.

This is undoubtedly the most important tip of all. There is absolutely no shame in admitting you need some help—in fact, it takes a lot of maturity to do. Here are a few awesome resources in the city:

TORONTO DISTRESS CENTRE: https://torontodistresscentre.com/408-help-line

KID’S HELP PHONE (if you’re under 18): https://kidshelpphone.ca/

GOOD 2 TALK (if you’re a post-secondary student): http://www.good2talk.ca/

TELEHEALTH: https://www.ontario.ca/page/get-medical-advice-telehealth-ontario

CAMH EMERGENCY DEPT: http://www.camh.ca/en/hospital/care_program_and_services/Emergency_Department/Pages/guide_emergency_service.aspx

Wishing all of you a healthy and peaceful summer. As always, tag me in your adventures!​

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