The school summer holidays are upon us and memories from the days of PND & Anxiety always trigger slightly at this time of year for me. Structure and routine were the building blocks of my recovery so when the schools broke those six weeks would feel terrifyingly long. Although Caterpillar was only a baby, the break still meant that the baby classes that brought me comfort and distraction would be on hiatus, family members would be holidaying or less available and Hubs would often have to work longer hours to make up for holiday in his firm. Essentially, my routine would be altered and I didn’t do well with that.
Mostly the prospect was worse than the reality, but we all know that the prospect of something frightening is all it takes with an Anxiety disorder.
Even now, recovered, my stomach occassionally flips at the idea of changes in routine but thankfully I feel much better equipped to deal with change these days and one way I deal with it is to up the self-care. You may recall I previously wrote 7 Self-Care Ideas For Winter, today I’m sharing the summer equivalent – small acts that can hopefully bring you some comfort.
Buying, arranging and surrounding yourself with fresh flowers can provide a great opportunity for mindfulness as we can focus our different senses and use this to ground ourselves in the present. Staying present is an amazing tool for anxiety management. Watch my video on mindfulness & meditation for Anxiety here.
Long walks were a saving grace to me when I was very poorly – they occupied some of the long, frightening hours of mental illness, boosted endorphins and expelled some of the excess adrenaline. Again, walking among nature is a great chance for mindfulness and source of vitamin D (if this lovely weather holds!). We just added a puppy to our family and he’s having his final vaccination this week so taking him out for walks, with Caterpillar, will be lovely in the holidays. Read more about exercise & anxiety here.
Be close to the sea
I’m incredibly lucky to live on the coast because I find being near the sea very soothing. Again, it’s great for mindfulness and an ideal location for quiet time and attempting to reframe difficult thoughts. If you can combine this with the above too then all the better!
Sleep well and keep cool at night
We all know that lack of sleep contributes hugely to our emotional wellbeing and these sticky nights can make it really tricky to get enough Zs . We couldn’t live without our fan at home and blackout curtains at night, plus blackout curtains for your children is also a great idea if you want to take advantage of sleeping in (or until 7am at least!). Find insomnia help here and here.
Listening to your favourite music is always a lovely self-care idea. Whether that be when you finally have ten minutes alone in the evening or as a fun activity with your kids. During my worst time I would force myself to dance around my kitchen to my favourite happy, summer songs firstly to make baby Caterpillar laugh and secondly to bring me a tiny burst of happiness / relief from the anxiety attacks. Music plays a big part of our relationship now and is especially fun in the garden in summertime.
Family & friend time
My family and friends always bring me laughter and comfort so definitely invest your free time in positive loved ones this summer if you need a boost or a distraction.
Lastly, and most importantly, make sure you carve out time for yourself during the holidays. If you’re used to your children being at school or nursery it can feel overwhelming to lose some of your alone time for a while so it’s really important you prioritise the small amounts of me-time you are able to get. I can’t wait to spend time with Caterpillar this summer, after missing him during his first year at school, but I also know I’ll need a little bit of time each day to get some peace too. It’s all about balance.
I hope Summer isn’t too much of a trigger for you and that you have lots of positive things planned. I’ll be here for the majority of the next couple of months, so any time you need to talk or vent just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or find me on Facebook.
Disclosure: This post collaborative links.