The summer is usually a time to shed the winter funk. The sun shines brighter. The weather is warmer. Birds are always singing a song. But for some, those feelings of depression are hard to shake, no matter how beautiful the day is.
Here’s some ideas on how to quash those summertime blues.
It’s okay to take a break
Summer is the most widely acceptable time to take a vacation. Vacations can be expensive, stressful and above all give you the need to have a vacation after your vacation. Plan accordingly. Give yourself a day of rest after you get back.
If you don’t have the funds to go away, plan a few days of a staycation. Sure, use a few days to get things done on your to-do list, but remember to have time to rest as well as have fun.
Keep a journal
Keeping a journal is a great way to release the everyday stress and low thoughts going on. Write down what’s bothering you. But here’s a twist, finish your thoughts with positive goals. List options of how to fix the situation or write out positive quotes to balance your mindset.
Plan for the future
We all have dreams and goals. Planning for the future allows you to look past the hopelessness of a bad moment. Write out a five-year plan. After that, write down a one-year plan. This will help give you realistic steps on how to accomplish your dream-worthy goals. This might take a couple hours, days or weeks, but write down things that you look forward to achieving.
You’re not alone
Summer can bring on emotions of feeling alone. Friends are on vacation. Perhaps, you and your partner have parted ways for the summer. Use this time to focus on yourself. Get healthy. Mental health is just as important as physical health.
Take an exercise class. Start walking. Being active releases positive brain chemicals to fight off depression.
Next, find someone to talk to. There’s plenty of great ways to approach this. Ask your doctor to refer a therapist. Or, talk to a therapist or counselor online with BetterHelp. Sometimes, we as humans get lonely. But know this, you are not alone. There are many outlets to remind us of that if we just take a second to look beyond ourselves.
Find your joy
You can make this task easy or difficult. Think back to when you were a child. Simple things made you happy. Yes, some we’re material things. However, there were plenty of things that put a smile on your face without costing a thing. I’m not saying live in the past. Move forward with child-like eyes. Enjoy the simple things in life. Enjoy that sunset. Enjoy taking off your shoes and walking in the grass. Enjoy sitting by the city fountain on a hot day and feeling the cool spray of the water.
Your best days are ahead of you. Just remember to rest, get healthy, find your peace and learn what makes you happy.
The Importance Of Finding Chill Time In Your Relationship
The longer a relationship goes on, the more you learn about what it’s like to be part of your partner’s daily life and to have them be part of yours. They are no longer separate from the joy, sadness, and hustle you deal with from day-to-day, they are incorporated in all of it. Not only do you feel the burden of the obstacles ahead of you and your everyday stresses, but your relationship does, too.
That’s why it’s important to not only be able to recognize stress in both yourself and your relationship, but to learn how to take a step back from it all together, instead of taking a step back from it all alone. Here are a few tips on how to do that.
If you’re both people of a similar level of motivation, you both have careers, school, or other responsibilities to take care of, it can be hard to recognize when your average, everyday stress becomes something negative with the potential to take its toll on your relationship. You have to grow aware of the symptoms of stress in your partner and your relationship. Are they irritable, less inclined to communicate with you, sullen, or otherwise off? There are some differences in how men and women handle stress as well. Though this won’t apply to 100% of cases, men tend to be more prone to trying to find solutions and doing more stuff when they’re stressed, while women tend to grow more inward facing and seek peace and comfort when stressed instead.
Stop your stress before it affects the relationship
It can be just as hard to recognize when your own stress is going to manifest in all the ugly ways that it can. You might be more prone to nitpicking your partner, starting fights over nothing, overreactions, or simply becoming withdrawn and cold. It can take a while before you realize that this behavior isn’t what you want, it’s the product of stress. Learning mindfulness techniques can help you start to recognize the warning signs of your own stress and help you also recognize how you react to it. When you’re more aware of it, it’s easier to recognize that it’s happening and stop it in progress.
How do you stop stress from taking hold when you recognize it in yourself, your partner, or your relationship? By finding ways to relax together, of course.
See how you spend your time
First of all, it’s important to find the time to chill out as a couple. When you integrate your partner into your daily life more and more, you can slip into a schedule that lets you both handle the business you need to handle without having to spend quite as much time together. But if you’re feeling stressed, there’s nothing better than scaling back your responsibilities to ensure that you have time to spend with them, so find ways to free time for the both of you.
Syncing your schedule with your partner is important if you both want to be able to give yourself over to that chill time completely. If you’re having trouble finding that synchronization, then look for chill time activities that make practical use of your time without having to take too much of it. Exercising together is a perfect example of that. Exercise naturally helps destress the body, helping you maintain motivation, a positive mood, and progress towards long-term health goals, which is great for feelings of achievement. When you’re doing it together, you don’t necessarily have to do the exact same exercises, but you feel the motivation of being part of a team and keep one another accountable. Plus, the post-exercise smoothie makes for a cute little mini-date.
Get away from it all
When you do find time to sync up and enjoy your time together, then there are few better ways to get away from the stress of daily life than to literally get away from them. You don’t need a lot of time and money to plan a romantic getaway with your partner. Don’t stress over finding the perfect far-flung destination and be more flexible. See what flights, trains, and hotels are cheapest or easiest to book at the time and simply get out of there. A break from familiar surroundings with nothing to worry about but the pleasure of you and your partner can be extremely refreshing.
Or just stay in
Don’t make the mistake of putting too much pressure on your getaway, either. It doesn’t need to be perfect or full of romantic gestures. You don’t even have to go anywhere. It’s the fact that you’re getting a break from your daily stresses that is most important. For that reason, a good staycation can work just as well as a getaway. In fact, if you haven’t been able to spend a lot of time together at home, lately, then a staycation might be even better than traveling somewhere else. Take a long weekend to free yourselves up entirely, no family plans, no social dates, no work emails. Just a blanket on a couch with takeout coming and plenty of movies to watch together.
Stress isn’t just a state of mind, it is very much a physical force that acts on the body to some unpleasant effects. Tender shoulders, sore backs, and aching joints can be caused by the tension that builds up in the muscles as a result of stress. A good massage not only helps the mind but forces the body to relax as well, helping you feel all kinds of refreshed and alleviated. A couples massage can work even better. Not only are you both taking the time to relax under the careful touch of a professional, but it’s a luxuriant, sensory experience that can both get you in the mood for romance without the need for a fancy candlelit dinner.
Another relaxation technique that’s often treated as a more solitary experience is meditation. To some degree, meditation is very much about how you experience yourself, building the habit of getting away from your daily distractions. However, couples meditation isn’t as distracting as it might seem. It builds your ability to well and truly relax around one another without being constantly concerned about what they are thinking or how they’re reacting to your presence and actions. What’s more, some find that a meditation partner makes it easier to escape from the distractions within their own thoughts, whether it’s thinking about what you’re going to make for dinner, how you’re going to handle work priorities, or other concerns.
Put the phone away
Whatever you’re doing, whether it’s having a staycation, working out, or simply chilling out in the home, it’s important to not have your phone constantly in front of your face when you’re relaxing with your partner. First of all, it’s a little disrespectful that you’re actively paying attention to anything other than yourself and your partner. What’s more, too much smartphone activity has been proven to be bad for a relationship. Not only does it diminish your ability to maintain concentration and to clear your mind of distractions, but the constant access to stimuli, positive and negative, can keep your mind in a more active, irritable state. Anyone who has gotten into a fight or overreacted to their partner after seeing a fight on social media knows how that is.
Doing chores to relax? It’s not as bizarre as it seems. Chores are a responsibility, but they’re also one that has an immediate pay-off, like exercise. When you finish cleaning your home, you have a nice, pleasant home to relax in. When you’re sharing it with a partner, it can be even more relaxing. That feeling of teamwork towards a common goal is an all-around pleasant sensation and you don’t feel the residual resentment of doing household chores when your partner is doing nothing and gaining all the benefit. It also gives you an opportunity to chat while you work, in case you haven’t had the chance to catch up with them today.
Vent and be vented upon
Lastly, we can’t forget about the importance of communication. It is the bedrock of any relationship that’s going to be about more about dating and sex. You have to be willing to both let your own vulnerable side be seen and to see the vulnerable side of your partner. When you have a problem, venting to others instead of your partner can lead to feelings of alienation or mistrust within the relationship. Similarly, if you’re not prepared to listen to them without judgement and let them get their stresses off their mind, they can never be comfortable being their true self around you.
Since relationships can feel the stress that either partner brings into them, it’s important to let them feel the alleviation of the stress as well. Relax together, so that your relationship is soothed, instead of keeping your relaxation to yourself.