It is assumed that for the majority of people, the warmer months will lighten moods and there is an increased positivity and happiness that this time of year brings. However, for some people, the warm and light months can manifest a whole host of difficulties.
Just like Christmas time when many people feel immense pressure to buy expensive presents and elaborate food, feeling obliged to attend parties and functions and generally feeling in the ‘Christmas spirit’, the same can be said for Summer. It can feel like the whole workplace is talking excitedly of impending holidays, barbeques in the garden and of travelling to the beach.
However, you can quickly start feeling overwhelmed, especially if you have a busy work schedule, are struggling to keep on top of finances, have family obligations and have to try to juggle childcare provisions as well as longer than usual commutes to work.
Roads can be especially busy in the Summer because of the increased number of cars travelling to and from their Summer destinations. The rise in temperature can cause irritability and a lack of good quality sleep due to the humid nights can make you feel grumpy at work.
It is therefore little wonder that many people feel frazzled at this time of the year and it is important to remember that not everyone enjoys hot, crowded beaches!
By prioritising your wellbeing and taking time for self care, you can enjoy the Summer months while they last. The simple act of slowing down and taking a look at your life from an outside perspective is in itself an act of mindfulness.
Don't feel obligated to do something or go somewhere just because it seems that ‘everyone else’ is. People’s situations, finances, likes and dislikes are all unique so concentrate on yourself, minimising your own stress and doing what makes you feel happy.
Science proves that natural light has a big impact upon your mental wellbeing with hormonal factors playing a significant part in how you feel and it also helps to regulate your internal clock. Sunlight reduces stress, makes you happier and has a positive influence upon both your immune system and your general wellbeing. Therefore, if you work indoors for most of the day, try getting up slightly earlier to get some early morning sunshine, whether it is a quick walk or having breakfast in your garden. During tea breaks and lunch breaks, choose to sit outside the office in open spaces where you can again, appreciate the sunshine and natural light. Walk to and from work where possible.
Exercising in places of nature can be extremely uplifting and significantly improve your mood. Vitamin D is absorbed by the body as well as several ‘feel good’ hormones which are released. Such are the benefits of being in nature, that some doctors even prescribe outdoor time in nature instead of prescriptions for antidepressants. A walk around your local park during your hour lunch break will be just as effective as anywhere else so don't feel as if you should venture far and wide.
There is a great truth in the saying ‘you are what you eat’ and so the food which you eat has a huge impact on how well you feel so take advantage of all the fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables at this time of year. Staying hydrated is equally as important and you can quickly begin to feel unwell if you are not having enough fluids so always have a cool drink handy.
Sleep - or lack of it - is perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of a hot Summer and can leave you feeling cross, exhausted and not at your most productive for work the following day. Using fans, keeping curtains closed during the day to keep heat out, opening windows, taking a cool shower before bed, light bedding and no technical gadgets can all help to improve the quality of sleep, ready for the next day.