7 Ways to Cope With The August Blues If The End of Summer Has You Feeling Down
It’s that time of year when you start to notice the days are getting shorter, and even though it's still a bajillion degrees outside, you know that seemingly-endless winter is just around the corner. Just like that weird unsettled feeling you get the night before you have to go into work on Monday, the end of summer prompts its own version of the Sunday Scaries: That feeling is called the August Blues, and there are many summer-lovers who experience this strange end-of-summer funk. But there are tons of ways to cope with the August Blues that can help ease the transition into fall.
According to the Cut, the August Blues is this feeling of anxiety and panic summer-lovers experience when summer is coming to a close. Stephen Ferrando, director of psychiatry at Westchester Medical, told the Cut that unlike seasonal affective disorder or SAD, the August Blues is actually fed more by anxiety than it is by depression. In other words, you're more likely to feel anxious than depressed if you're experiencing the August Blues. AKA, it's seriously not a fun time.
If the imminent arrival of September's got you down, there's a few ways you can cope with the August Blues. It doesn't have to be a bummer summer, after all.
1. Be Good To Yourself
They call it self-care for a reason. Joshua Klapow, clinical psychologist, told the TODAY Show that when you take care of your physical health, your emotional health will follow. Treat your body like it's precious because, folks, you are precious. Try to set goals for yourself to drink more water. Stock up on foods that make you feel like your best self. Allow yourself to get a little bit more sleep. Oh, and try to get moving: the connection between exercise and better mental health has been well-documented in study after study. The better you feel physically, the better you’ll start to feel emotionally.
2. Cuddle A Puppy
Cuddle. All. The. Puppies. According to Dr. Sarah Brewer, author of Live Longer, Look Younger, petting animals releases the hormone oxytocin, the hormone responsible for making you feel happy, Women's Weekly reported. In other words, petting puppies makes you happy! If you need a quick mood boost, visit a friend or neighbor who owns a dog for some pet therapy. For a double mood boost, offer to walk the dog so you get a little exercise at the same time.
3. Resist The Urge To Isolate Yourself
We’ve all been down that funk rabbit hole. The world outside might look so bright and beautiful, but you just can’t bring yourself to enjoy it. Klapow told the Today Show that people who are experiencing the summer blues really need to make the extra effort to get out there and do the things they like, even though it can feel impossible. It might be painful at first, but try to force yourself to go to that pool party or see that movie. Or take baby steps and just invite a couple of friends over. If that feels too overwhelming, try calling a friend. Just do what you can to reach out to your support system.
4. Ignore Social Media FOMO
Stop scrolling through everyone’s vacation photos on Instagram. Seriously, just stop. According to Klapow, for every oceanside selfie, there are like a gazillion photos of the people you follow not having fun. Translation: people present their best lives on social media to make their friends think they’re having fun all the friggin’ time. Newsflash: No one’s having fun all the time, so you’re really not missing out on anything. Obsessing over what you’re seeing on social media, which is a highly curated version of your friends’ lives, is only going to make to make you feel worse. So just put. The. Phone. Down.
5. Turn Up The Tunes
But try not to spiral into summertime sadness with those angsty slow jams. According to Women’s Weekly, psychologists at McGill University in Canada found that music can reduce anxiety and boost your mood. Put together a playlist of positive tunes that you can put on rotation when you’re feeling down. Not sure what to add? Ask your friends to recommend their favorite happy jams. You'll have a full playlist in no time.
6. Ask For Help
Sometimes the summertime blues can feel absolutely overwhelming, and there is nothing wrong with that. Nothing. If that's how you're feeling, Psych Central says it is perfectly OK to ask for help. Reach out to family or friends for help with the kids so you can have a little time to yourself. Or them help you clean the house or do laundry. Delegate a few tasks at work. It's OK to let your support system know you need them.
7. Slow Down
It may seem counterintuitive since you probably spent the last few months taking summer trips or staycations, but August is actually a good time to slow down and take a break. Rachel Annunziato, associate professor of psychology at Fordham University, told The Cut that sometimes the divide between summer and fall can be really harsh for working adults. But it doesn’t have to be. Use August to just take a breath and get a little rest. Annunziato says August is a transitional month between summer and fall, so treat it that way. Channel your inner-introvert and take a few extra nights to yourself, rather than trying to "make the most" of the last bits of summer. (That's FOMO talking.) Read that book that's been collecting dust on your nightstand. Make that spa appointment. It’s your time to use however you want.
If you love summer as much as I do, the transition into the colder months can be a rough time of year. But there’s no resisting the inevitable, so just remember to take care of yourself. Summer will be back before we know it.