But here's the deal, we only get one one summer every year. We only get 24 hours in every new day. We only get one fragile life and let's live it. So here are a few ways to kick those summertime blues out of bed and get back to squeezing every last drop out of these next few months. Here we go!
1. Drink Up
Ha! Not what you're thinking. This first one is about improving your water intake. It's so simple I had to laugh but it's really important not just for general health but...for your mood too! You might not associate missing a few sips of water with feeling down or depressed but studies really do suggest that even mild dehydration can lead to feelings of depression, low mood, fatigue, and headaches.
Sometimes the moodiness we're feeling is simply an imbalance of the chemicals in our bodies due to lack of hydration. In the summertime, we often become easily dehydrated simply because temperatures are spiking, we're loosing a lot of fluids through sweat, and we might not be paying attention to our bodies, drinking summery fruity and often alcoholic drinks, you name it. And while dehydration is definitely not just a summer thing, I think we've all had the experience of becoming more dehydrated when temperatures spike.
The first thing to do is push fluids. Increase your water intake and try using the same water bottle each day so that you can really see how many times you're filling it up and try to increase that. When we're drinking from a lot of different containers, it's hard to really tell how much water we've had and easy to give ourselves credit that we might not deserve.
So break out an awesome new water bottle, save the environment, stay healthy, and boost your mood the easy way!
2. Get a Routine Set Up
Often the lazy days of summer are just that, we loose our motivation for our workout routines, our job and school schedules change or they don't change and that's a bummer too, and we start to feel less like ourselves.
Think about a really good day for you. What does it include? Literally write down the elements of a good day for you personally and take a look at the list. Then write down a schedule for your days that includes those items. If you can't fit it all in every day, make a weekly schedule but either way, try to stick to it. This helps with kids in the summer as well. I spent five years as a teacher and I can tell you, the kiddos who had even a loose summer schedule had a way easier time transitioning back to school than those who were plopped in front of screens all day.
For me, writing, some form of exercise, and being in water are important to me in summer. It can literally be a quick post, five minutes on the stair master (that thing kicks your behind and my leg can actually do the motions which is amazing) and a cool, aromatherapy shower. There. That was a schedule and it made me feel good and at the end of the day I am brighter, happier, more accomplished. A bonus for me is that after that shower, I feel more motivated to "dress up" as the quote of the day would say. More on that in tip #3
3. Spruce Up
For those of us who are living with chronic illness, working from home, having time off from work this time of year, being at-home moms, or dealing with anything else that might be keeping you from having a typical work schedule is to really try and do something that makes us feel like we got dressed and ready that day. When you don't really have to or doing so means waisting precious energy or having more pain, it's easy to stay in the same comfy t-shirt and messy bun you slept in and go about your day.
Resist the urge! Get dressed. Even if it means just putting on a fresh pair of lounge attire. When my ulcerative colitis flares get really bad, it's literally not possible for me to get fully dressed but I draw myself a bath and afterwards put on clean, fresh pjs and I feel like a million bucks. If you're a stay at home worker, stay at home mom or dad, I know it makes a big difference to put on some clothes that make you feel good each day. Don't fool yourself, just because your job happens to be located in your home does not mean it isn't a serious job. Dress the part. Take yourself seriously and others will too.
And for those of us suffering with chronic illness I've found that purchasing some clothing that is light and loose and might feel like PJs but look really nice is a wonderful investment. You can slip it on and feel comfortable with a colostomy bag, with compression clothing, with serious skin issues, you name it, if you find true daytime clothing that accommodates your illness, you can go anywhere feeling confident and also comfortable which can really extend your ability to stay and do what it is you came to do.
I've even had complements before on my clothes and laughed so hard because they were chosen to accommodate serious stomach problems and a bad leg. Most people wouldn't associate that with fashion but if you let go of the feeling that you can't look nice because of chronic illness and say to yourself, I can do this with style...Guess what? You can!
Also, just sprucing up the house a little has been shown to really improve your mood. I added a few pretty throw pillows to our drab couch last week after a counseling session and every time I see them, I feel brighter, I feel like my life is more luxurious, I feel more like myself and I want to invite more friends over. Boom!
4. Get a Check-Up
So if you've tried all of these and are still feeling down or your depression or blues can sometimes be chronic, the best thing to do is talk to your doctor. If you go in and you're already doing all of these things, you're more likely to be taken seriously and have a real conversation about supplements or medicines from the start.
First of all, guess what I've never done? Gone to medical school! Most of the people posting on the internet have not either so make sure to run anything you're planning on taking by your healthcare provider. In this article, I've chosen to share some things that have helped me as a layperson so that you can maybe check out something you hadn't heard of before. Anything I talk about here has truly, absolutely, worked for me and I'm sharing it because if there is a chance it could work for you, that makes my heart smile like crazy.
When I'm feeling a little down and need a boost, I start with Vitamin D usually. You might think that since we're in the summer months or if you're in a sunny climate, it might not be needed but if you take sunscreen as seriously as I do, you could be blocking some of the good stuff with the bad. So give it a try and see how you feel! I usually start to feel a bit sunnier (pun intended) in three days to a week.
If my low mood is accompanied by headaches, I try Vitamin B complex as well as calcium-magnesuim suppliments. Those help my mood and my headaches and I try them especially when my body is having a tough time absorbing nutrients due to an ulcerative colitis flare but yours could be due to hormonal changes, you name it. Just ask your doctor.
If I'm just down for a day or two and need a boost so that I can get back on track doing steps 1,2, and 3, then I go for L-Theanine. It's an amino acid mood booster that helps with stress and anxiety. It's basically an herbal version of Xanax or Ativan. Hats off if those help you but I found that prescription anti anxiety medicines often give me a bad rebound effect, meaning that I feel better for the moment but feel a heck of a lot worse when they wear off so I asked my doctor and she recommended L-Theanine which is over the counter and has less side effects for many people. But be careful, amino acids can be hard on your digestive tract and liver if you abuse them. I have ulcerative colitis and I can take them safely as directed but I do know that people can go over the top and have stomach issues so just as with everything, be responsible and listen to your body.
The next supplement that has helped me greatly when I have the blues for a more extended period of time is SAM-e. It is another amino acid supplement but it is geared toward more longterm relief from low mood, anxiety, and joint pain. It has been a God-send for me because of medicines I now take due to my blood disorder, Factor V Leiden, I am unable to safely take the most common herbal anti-depressant, St. John's Wort. I have taken both at different times in my life and found them both to be immensely helpful without the horrendous side effects I suffered from prescription medicines in this category. Remember, like other supplements, these are unlikely to be regulated by the FDA so if that is important to you then you might want to go with a prescription instead.
5. Bring in Backup
Call a friend, set a schedule with a trainer, get a lunchtime yoga or walking club going at work, get an introductory appointment with a counselor or mental health professional, join a club or support group, call a hotline, sign up for a class in something you haven't tried, get a Groupon for a new gym, restaurant, kayaking session, paining night, or even just call up somebody you love, snuggle up, and watch a funny movie. Laugh. Cry. Sing. Dance. Jump in some cool water. Live. And if you still don't feel better, email me. I've been through it all, my friends.
Either way, I hope that these tips and tricks will help you if you go through a bout of summertime sadness. It has cheered me up just writing about the things that help me! I'm headed off to practice what I preach so have an amazing day and as always, slap on that sunscreen and drink your water.
Lots of Love,
**This Post is NOT sponsored. All opinions are my own and I genuinely recommend each product because it has helped me or someone I love.
These have helped me at different times in the past but
Remember to speak with your doctor before starting any new medicines.