Shadows of summer: overcoming summertime sadness | The Triangle

Shadows of summer: overcoming summertime sadness

Photo by Samuel Gregg | The Triangle

As the days grow longer and the sun continues to grace us with its warm embrace, we eagerly anticipate the joys of a long and recharging summer – from beach vacations to outdoor barbecues and picnics. However, for most of us, this season isn’t always a time of endless joy. Summertime sadness, also known as “summer blues” or “summer depression,” is a phenomenon that never fails to dampen our spirits each year. 

Contrary to the widely held belief that summer is a time of carefree happiness, many of us also experience a sense of sadness, lethargy, or even depression during these warm months. It is not new that summer often comes with the pressure to create the perfect experience. Anticipation of a season filled with happiness and adventure can create unrealistic expectations, setting the stage for disappointment if those expectations aren’t met. As we approach the “dog days” of summer, our Instagram feeds can exacerbate this pressure, as people showcase their idealized versions of summer activities, leading to feelings of inadequacy and isolation.

The break from regular routines that comes with summer, such as a pause in academic or work-related responsibilities, can leave us feeling purposeless or adrift. However, Drexel’s quarter system may actually cause the opposite problem, leading to feelings of missing out spending time with hometown friends and family. And while summer is associated with social activities, it may feel impossible to indulge, leading to isolation or difficulty in engaging with others during this season.

One way to begin mitigating these feelings is to prioritize self-care by getting enough sleep, maintaining a healthy diet and engaging in physical activity. These practices can have a positive impact on mood and overall well-being. Mindfulness techniques, meditation, as well as deep breathing exercise, can help us manage our day-to-day stressors and stay grounded in the present moment.

Planning outings, gatherings or activities with our friends, even a week or two ahead of time, will allow us to look forward to our summer days and also help us find a work life balance. Try reducing the amount of time spent on social media platforms during the summer, too, freeing your mind from what “better” activities friends are partaking in. 

Pursue hobbies, creative projects, or volunteering opportunities that bring you joy and a sense of accomplishment. Allow yourself to experience the spectrum of emotions that come with life, including periods of sadness or discomfort. Recognize that not every moment needs to be extraordinary and that joy also comes from the little things, like the sunrise peeking through your apartment every morning and the sunset painting the evening sky. 

Summertime sadness is a nuanced and often overlooked aspect of the season. Understanding its potential causes and implementing strategies to manage it can help us fully embrace the joys of summer while navigating its challenges. Remember that seeking help and support is a sign of strength, and there’s no shame in acknowledging and addressing your feelings. By practicing self-care, cultivating meaningful connections and focusing on your well-being, you can create a summer experience that aligns with your authentic self and brings forth positivity and growth for the seasons to come.