We live in an odd climate here in Phoenix. It’s hot, really hot, for a very long time! How does that affect you? Your body? Your mood? Your thoughts? I think most people think “Summer!!” and imagine lounging around a pool, slower schedules, sleeping in, vacations, BBQ’s, and fun. But for many, the summer also brings long, hot, days of whiny, cranky, hot, tired, bored, frustrated kids…which leads to irritated, cranky, hot, tired, frustrated parents.
During the time I spent in Seattle most people were familiar with SAD (seasonal affective disorder). Winter months brought short, dark, gray, rainy days for months on end. People often admitted to how the weather affected their moods and dispositions. As a therapist, it was helpful and necessary to note the changes in season and how they affected myself and my clients. Now, living in Phoenix I often see a similar pattern, but during the summer months.
There are different levels of severity for those who experience SAD, and this doesn’t mean you have some diagnosable condition, but definitely worth noting if you experience some SAD symptoms. Worth noting for you, for your kids, and for your whole family. There are lots of ways to cope with the symptoms, but sometimes just taking note and realizing they are present is helpful. It is a season, it will pass, and you can try and find ways to seek relief in the midst of it, but it also may be difficult. Even if you love the heat and summer, your kids might not, and usually they don’t have the language to articulate why they are feeling sad, frustrated, depressed, anxious, or lot of other emotions. Will you show yourself and your kids a little extra grace this summer when everyone is about out of their minds?
Ways to cope:
- Simply being aware that the summer might be a more difficult time for you
- Finding things that give you reprieve, and making sure to prioritize them in your daily/weekly schedule
- Move your body
- Set up regular childcare (even just for an hour) so you can reflect and reenergize yourself
- Fuel your body with good energy (food & drink)
- Plan trips to cooler locations
- Seek help or counsel to work through some things if it feels too overwhelming
- And remember, there are lots of resources out there if you need help!
Take care of yourself.