The weather is warming up and people are starting to spend more time outside because summertime is on its way. Summer means spending time with friends and loved ones, gathering together for fun under the sun. The summertime holidays call for hanging around the beach or the pool, barbecuing, and relaxing the day away.
While summertime marks excitement and festivities for many, it can be a source of stress for those struggling with mental illness. Anxiety disorders build up nerves around social gatherings. Depressive disorders may keep you from wanting to leave your room. Substance use disorders might make you think you can’t join in on any of the summertime fun.
The onset of summer may not feel as exciting if you’re battling a mental illness. Your symptoms don’t have to hold you back from having a good time this summer, though. There are ways you can avoid triggers during summertime festivities and still have a good time with the people you care about. How can you get yourself ready and participate in the fun while managing your mental health?
Challenge Yourself to Get Outside Your Comfort Zone
This summer can be a great time to get outside your comfort zone. Attend an event you might feel a bit nervous about. Try a new activity you’ve always wanted to try. Visit a new place, whether it’s across town or across the country. Challenge yourself to get outside your comfort zone this summer and do something you’ve always wanted to do.
There are plenty of places you can go, things you can try, and more. Don’t let your triggers be the thing that keeps you back from experiencing life. If you prepare yourself ahead of time, you can avoid triggers during summertime festivities and still enjoy yourself. There’s a whole summer of excitement awaiting you!
Recognize Your Limits and Set Boundaries
After spending the last year indoors and isolated, it’s a good idea to ease back into socializing. You likely got used to spending most of your time on your own or with a small group. Immediately jumping back into summer activities could be a fast-track to facing your triggers. You don’t want to overwhelm yourself right away and set a bad pace for the summer.
Start by recognizing your limits and setting boundaries. What do you feel comfortable participating in, what makes you nervous but still feels okay, and what is an absolute no? Decide what your limits are ahead of time so you don’t feel backed into a corner when something comes up. Then as summer progresses and you become more comfortable, feel free to revisit those limits and boundaries to make adjustments.
Bring a Friend With You
Bringing friends with you to events is a great way to feel a bit more comfortable wherever you’re going. Even if you’re attending something where you know everyone who will be there, having a designated friend to come with can help. They may make you feel more comfortable taking social risks you wouldn’t otherwise take and can offer support when you need it.
Whether it’s an event with a group of friends or a gathering with your family, bringing a friend is always helpful. If you’re not able to bring a friend with you, having someone ready to take your calls is a good alternative. Let them know where you’ll be and ask if they are willing to pick up the phone as soon as a call comes in. Knowing you have some support that’s only a phone call away can make a huge difference.
Don’t Skip Doses
Managing your mental health is the foundation for having a good time this summer. Skipping doses of your psychiatric medications is one of the quickest ways to undo any attempts you make to avoid your triggers during summertime festivities. And if you take your meds at the same time every day, don’t deviate from that, either.
You don’t need to feel nervous or uncomfortable about taking your meds. Step out for a moment when it’s time to take them then get back to having fun. Don’t let spending time with your friends be a reason you skip your doses. At the same time, don’t let medication keep you from going out and spending time with your friends.
It’s Okay to Say No
You don’t have to attend every single event that comes up. You also don’t need to spend time with every single person who asks you to. It’s okay to say no to events or people you don’t feel comfortable with. Don’t force yourself to do something you don’t want to do because you worry about what others may think about you. It’ll put you in a bad position and potentially cause a problem.
Before saying no, though, ask yourself why you’re saying no. Is it something you truly feel uncomfortable about or are you just nervous? Nerves aren’t always a reason to decline an invitation. Is there a way you can make the event less intimidating or more enjoyable to attend? Ask whether you can attend on those stipulations. But again, it’s also important to stick to your boundaries and say no if you need to.
Stay Current With Your Treatment
Staying current with your treatment is a crucial way you can avoid triggers during summertime festivities. There’s no reason to cut back on meeting with your therapist or attending groups if they’re part of your routine. The more you stick to your existing treatment plan, the better time you’re going to have during the summer.
Your treatment program, whatever it consists of, offers ongoing support and a place for you to process triggers that arise. If you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation or something comes up that you feel unable to handle, you can process it during your next session. When you’re consistent with meeting your therapist or going to group therapy, you’ll be more equipped to handle whatever triggers arise this summer.
Seek Support If You Need It
Sometimes you can’t avoid triggers entirely and need some additional support. If you aren’t already receiving support for your mental health, now is a great time to ask for help. Find a therapist you can meet with regularly, a support group to participate in, or a treatment program if you need more intensive aid.
Summertime isn’t a reason to avoid seeking the help you need. There is nothing wrong with asking for help to get yourself back on track. Facilities like Clearview Treatment Programs offer a variety of services to meet you where you are. Whether you’re looking for a full-time residential program or something more flexible like an outpatient program, we can help.
Taking the first step toward that help can be a scary thing to do but we’re here to meet you halfway. The staff and clinicians here at Clearview Treatment Programs know that it’s not always easy to ask for what you need. But you can feel safe reaching out to us.
Get in touch with us now and speak with one of our understanding admissions counselors. We can answer any questions you may have, direct you to the program that’s best for your needs, and connect you with the help you’re looking for today!