There ARE Some Cures for the Summertime Blues
So many people associate winter with sadness and depression, but did you know that people can be depressed during the summer as well?
Depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and other mental health conditions are not confined to one part of the year. They’re year-round conditions, but they’re also treatable. Luckily, the summer season gives us ample opportunities to address our mental health:
Digging in the dirt and pulling up weeds provides many benefits. While growing plants, we can soothe our minds.
Known by the term horticultural therapy, gardening and working outside may help treat conditions such as alcoholism and depression. Gardening encourages people to take responsibility for living things. It allows people to track the growth and progress of their plants and their mental health.
Gardening is a hobby that provides both short-term and long-term benefits. In the short term, it keeps people busy and active by requiring them to gather materials, prepare soil, plant, weed, water, fertilize, harvest, and attend to a myriad of day-to-day tasks.
In the long-term, gardening produces flowers, shrubs, trees, fruit, or vegetables that provide tangible evidence of people’s care and hard work. The hobby inspires hope for new life, which may overcome the hopelessness of depression.
If we’re gardening, we may be lugging plants and pushing wheelbarrows and engaging in other activities. Working in the garden is not the only exercise we can find during summer, of course.
Warm and sunny days make it appealing to participate in several outdoor activities. In fact, it seems we’re only limited by our imaginations. (And humidity and mosquitoes, but those are other stories.) Anyway, some cheap and easy ways to find exercise include:
- Running on the beach. Have you ever tried this? It’s not easy, because sand offers a lot of resistance.
- Walking with hand weights. You don’t need expensive weights but can walk with a bottle of water or a can of food in each hand.
- Climbing stairs. Scaling stairs is another difficult but effective physical activity. This is a good way to obtain cardio exercise without investing in equipment or joining a gym.
Exercise may help us look better, but perhaps even more importantly, it helps us feel better about ourselves. It requires us to take literal steps to improve and protect our health. Of course, we may need to check with doctors before starting a fitness regimen and should always make sure we use sunscreen and drink enough fluids while we’re exercising.
Pleasant weather may also encourage us to do other things. Exploring may be one of those things.
It can be any kind of exploration you want. Do you want to eat at a new restaurant or check out a museum that has always looked interesting? Visit a different country or state? Regardless of what you do, the important thing to do is to try something new and shake things up a little.
Doing new things may help us be brave and help us grow. New experiences, people, and places may teach us things we didn’t know about the world. They may teach us things we didn’t know about ourselves. Trying new things and exploring new opportunities are gifts that keep giving, because we may continue to enjoy good feelings long after the initial new experiences have ended.
Summer is a great time to do things you love and to look for new opportunities. The opportunities may be fun ways to spend time and serve as good ways to enhance our mental health.
About the author: Pamela Zuber is a writer and editor who has written about a wide variety of topics, including physical and mental health, addiction, politics, and gender.