How to Avoid the Summertime Blues

It seems like everywhere you look, people are pumped about summer. There are pictures of happy beach-goers, and parties with friends, and fun trips all over our social media timelines. Upbeat music plays in stores and on the radio. Everyone keeps talking about how great it is to be off of school!

For some people, this can be isolating; a break from normal routine and a lack of class/study/extracurricular time may make many individuals–especially students–feel depressed, anxious, purposeless, etc. If you’re one of these people, you’re not alone. It’s okay to experience some summertime sadness, and you’re not a total weirdo or outcast. However, it’s important for you to take care of your mental health during the holidays. First, I’m going to summarize a quick little list of things that I think would be helpful, then share a bunch of links that can hopefully be helpful [Ps: thanks to my mom for sending me the first link and giving me the idea for this article].

Here are a few things that might help you enjoy summer!:

  • Make plans! Think of it as a sort of summer bucket list (example below), and cross the things that you do off of your list. For example, I’ve already gone to Wonderland twice, had a picnic with my boyfriend, exercised with friends, made good homemade meals, etc. Planning not only allows you to more clearly decide what you want to do, but it helps you follow through with some of your summertime desires, which keeps you busy. Other ideas for your summer bucketlist could be…
    • Planning a staycation or a vacation
    • Reading a new book
    • Watching a new movie
    • Exploring your city (going to a museum, park, etc.)
    • Volunteering
    • Writing more
    • Learning a new talent/hobby
    • Plant a garden
    • Visit an old friend

  • Take advantage of the warm weather! Water parks aren’t open year-round. You won’t have as much fun feeding the birds in the wintertime.Try to do a few things that are best done in the summer, and get some vitamin D from the sun (hint: in moderation, this can help boost your mood).
  • Relax near the water! Have a beach day, or take a stroll near the lake. Float in the pool, or ocean if you can. Water is soothing and it’s actually meditative to just chill out listening to the waves.
  • Eat summery foodsThere’s just something great about barbecues and fresh salads. Try to limit the burgers & hotdogs if you know that it will make you feel bad about yourself, but don’t deprive yourself of them! Enjoy the yummy foods of the season.
  • EXERCISEI know I’ve been pushing this in, like, every blog post lately… but seriously. It will help. Try to exercise for a little bit indoors, in the mornings/nights (if it’s safe to do so), or in the pool so as to avoid the sweltering heat.

(Some ideas inspired by these sites: 1, 2)

1. http://activemindsblog.org/summer-self-care-tips/

“We all have those DIY projects we’ve been meaning to get to, tasks we want to accomplish, and list of things we want to do when we have free time. Well, guess what? Summer = free time!

Read those books. Learn to crochet or knit. Make a piece of clothing. Make some art. Write a book. Re-purpose that chair. Plant those flowers. Dye your hair. Seek inspiration on Pinterest if you need it.”

2. http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2011/06/21/6-tips-to-help-summer-depression/

 “It’s important to maintain good sleep hygiene in the summer. That is, even though the day’s events are changing from week to week, make sure to keep your sleep schedule the same: go to bed at the same time every night, wake up at the same time every morning, and don’t sleep much less than 7 hours and no more than 9 hours a night. When depressed, it’s common to want to sleep as much as you can, to kill the hours. However, extra sleep does increase depression.”

3. http://womenonthefence.com/2015/06/23/10-tips-to-stay-healthy-and-happy-this-summer/

“Yes. People who are socially active get fewer colds! Research shows that social and sociable people tend to be more positive, which is tied to happiness and strengthened immunity. Don’t isolate. Summer is a great time to get out there with friends, family and your partner.”

Overall, remember to self-care! Take some time out of every day to do something that makes you HAPPY. Keep busy and mindful, and I hope you really do avoid the summertime sadness. xo

(click on each image for photo source)

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Let’s Talk About PINK!

While pink is my favourite colour, that isn’t the reason that it’s important to talk about pink today. It’s important because tomorrow, Wednesday April 8th, is the International Day of Pink, which is really cool and a way that you can help stand up “against Bullying, Discrimination, Homophobia, Transphobia, and Transmisogyny across the world”, as the official Day of Pink website states.

This day began in Nova Scotia when two classmates witnessed a boy in their class getting bullied for being gay and wearing a pink shirt. To protest against the bullying, the two students encouraged everyone in their school to wear pink and stand up against hatred and discrimination.

You can show your support tomorrow in several different ways; the website even has a list of options available to you! Among them are wearing pink, taking the pledge, giving out candy/”thank you”s to people wearing pink tomorrow, making use of their free Pink Day resources and signing the pledge on their website.

Why should you care?

There are many reasons why you should care enough to participate in the International Day of Pink, or at least support those who do. This is a day to support those who are bullied and discriminated against, and it is important to do so.

  • Children who are bullied are more likely to suffer from depression as adults (Source)
  • Same-sex couples are less able to secure housing compared to opposite-sex couples (Source)
  • In Ontario, 20% of trans people experience assault because of their gender identity,  and 34% are verbally harassed or threatened (Source)

According to CMHA:

LGBT people face:

  • Higher rates of depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive and phobic disorders, suicidality, self-harm, and substance use among LGBT peoplex
  • Double the risk for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) than heterosexual peoplexi

LGBT youth and trans people face increased risk. For example:

  • LGBT youth face approximately 14 times the risk of suicide and substance abuse than heterosexual peersxii
  • 77% of trans respondents in an Ontario-based survey had seriously considered suicide and 45% had attempted suicide
    • Trans youth and those who had experienced physical or sexual assault were found to be at greatest riskxiii

(Source)

I recognize that it may seem as though one day of wearing pink cannot possibly be enough to actually make any kind of a difference, but I’d like to offer an alternative perspective. While, yes, it is only one day, it could be all someone needs to feel accepted and feel like they belong. Of course it is ideal to have a culture wherein everyone shows support for people’s individuality at all times, and I encourage everyone to be as open-minded and encouraging at all times. However, the International Day of Pink is an opportunity to be proud and visible, showing support for victims of discrimination and standing up against people who are intolerant.

good vs evil

(Picture source)

Let’s [Continue to] Talk About Change

On January 28th, I was really happy to see many of my Facebook friends and Twitter followers posting and tweeting on behalf of the now-annual Bell Let’s Talk Day to raise awareness and money for mental healthcare initiatives. It was incredible to see people I know do something, no matter how small it was, to help support the destigmatization of mental health and to support those who have been affected by mental illness. However, like many others, I can’t help but feel a little disappointed by how quickly thereafter people stopped talking about it all together. Of course, I can’t expect everyone to talk about mental health every day, so this sentiment may be a little unreasonable. However, the good news is that there are still tons of people and organizations that work to support those affected by mental health issues every day — even 2 months after the infamous Let’s Talk Day!

Today I want to take the time to acknowledge a wonderful campaign in the UK that wonderful things to destigmatize mental health issues. The other day on my Facebook page, I shared the link to a wonderful video that Time To Change published. I had seen pictures and an article here and there shared by this organization, but had never really stopped to explore it. When I did, I found that their website is full of awesome resources and information.

The thing that I really like about their site is that they put onus on everyone to help end “mental health discrimination”, as they put it. They even have a pledge you can sign to promise to try to help end stigmatization whenever you see opportunity. This doesn’t have to be a big sweeping gesture — reaching out to show someone you’re there for them, speaking out against offensive jokes, and asking how someone is (and really wanting to hear the answer) can be enough to help someone.

If you are affected by a mental health issue, whether it be directly or indirectly, I encourage you to reach out for support. It isn’t weak at all, it just means that you realize that it’s #TimeToChange.

MI1

Thanks for being here!

This blog is dedicated to happiness — mine, yours, and maybe even your friends’ and family’s (if I’m so lucky that people share my posts and find them helpful)! While it’s important to be knowledgeable about current events and social justice issues, I think it’s also incredibly important to take time to be positive every day. I think there’s too much focus on the negative, and I want to try to change that in my own life.

I decided to make my quest public to keep myself motivated, and also to motivate others as well hopefully; we all need it every once in a while. Each day of the week will have a different theme to it, and they will all be wonderous (hence “wonderousweekdays”). I haven’t come up with all of the names yet, but so far there will be:

  • “Masculine” Monday – content focused on challenging gender roles and norms.
  • Tuesday to come. 
  • #WomanCrushWednesday – a play off the popular instagram/Twitter tag, Wednesday is a day to give a shoutout to wonderful women, empower females, and challenge gender roles & misogyny.
  • Thankful Thursday – a day dedicated to recognizing all the great things in our life.
  • Feel Good Friday – random acts of kindness? Good news? Cute animals? Mental health advice? If it will make you happy, it fits in here.
  • Song Saturday – sharing the healing power of positive music!
  • Self-love Sunday – let’s focus on self-care and acceptance to start the #wonderousweek off right.

Morgan