Even though summer is my favorite time of year by a landslide, it still seems like without fail amongst the warm nights and beach days, I have a depressive episode.
Let me be clear. I'm extremely lucky that I'm able to manage my depression without too much intervention. Mine tends to come and go (sometimes it's situational, sometimes it's completely random), but I know so many others who struggle with it chronically, everyday.
And like I said, even though my disposition in the summer is generally a more positive one, I usually have a period of a few weeks where I wake up and feel so awful and so negative, that it's hard to get out of bed and do basic things. Maybe it's Cancer/Leo season bringing up all my emotions. Maybe it's the expansiveness of the summer season, pulling things to the surface that need to be healed. Maybe it's completely arbitrary (as depression often is).
But every time it does happen, I check in with these four things. I thought you might find them helpful too.
- Have I been sleeping? Lack of sleep literally affects every part of my life (if you know me personally, you know I have a strict bedtime for that reason). A few restless nights in a row have me feeling ROUGH, so this is always where I start. If I'm having trouble, I add a little magnesium to my diet with a supplement like Natural Calm, and try to add more magnesium-rich foods to my diet like spinach, avocado, and nuts.
- How's my diet? Summer to me is party time, which means I get a little more relaxed about following my general paleo-esque meal plan. But I've realized through food and mood journaling that after doing this for many weeks, I can see old symptoms start to flare up, including anxiety, depression, and hormone imbalances.
- Is it time to go back to therapy? I've been very upfront about how much I love therapy, and how helpful it has been in helping me find tools to calm my nervous mind. When a depression flare kicks in, it's a reminder for me to check in to see if I should go back to sessions if it's been a while, or if it's time to maybe use a different therapist. I think finding a therapist is like interviewing people for a job opening. If it's not feeling great, then it might be that this particular therapist is not the best fit for you.
- Am I leaving space? Just like, blank open space? With nothing scheduled? I know it's hard to do, but damn having an hour or two with NOTHING on your calendar allows for magic to happen in so many ways.
Have you experienced the summer sads? What do you do to support yourself through it?