Those of us who dealt with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) all winter had to compound those anxieties with being cooped up from shelter-in-place. We’ve been looking forward to summer, but now all of our favorite activities might be on pause. With states that may have reopened too soon setting record coronavirus cases, I’m not even sure if I can even participate in some of my summer pastimes. Here’s what I plan on doing instead.
How I’m Handling My Anxiety About a Summer with COVID-19
Nothing triggers my anxiety more than the unknown. Uncertainties surrounding COVID-19 only amplifies this stress. The key to managing my stress is to note my triggers ahead of time and figure out ways to combat these setbacks before they rear their ugly heads. Here’s how…
Realize Where the Anxiety Comes From
While I have an anxiety disorder, my condition is more than just a chemical imbalance. On a conscious or subconscious level, something is sparking these episodes. So, I must get to the root of that problem.
I realized that COVID-19 dampening my summer plans stems down to disappointment. Even before COVID-19, I waited all year long for some summer fun.
Sunny, more relaxed days with friends and family is an unspoken expectation this time of the year. It’s a “known,” and the dependability of this annual occurrence helps set my anxious mind at ease. With COVID-19 throwing a wrench in my plans, the “known” became “unknown.”
Just acknowledging this disappointment started weighing heavily on my anxiety. However, pinpointing where this anxiety stemmed from was crucial for making a plan that would ease my worried mind.
Go Outside More
The number one reason I experience SAD is that the days are short. There’s less sun to brighten my day. Plus, it’s often too cold to go outside for extended periods of time.
When COVID-19 spread during the colder months, the option to leave wasn’t a factor. So, I had this added element of confinement brewing in my brain. With summer here, those limitations are off.
The sun is our primary source of Vitamin D. Research suggests that a Vitamin D deficiency is associated with “higher levels of anxiety, depression, and internalizing problems.”
Since we must maintain social distancing, my outdoor time might not be as plentiful as I hope. That’s why I’m using all-natural supplements, like Tranquilene, to increase my Vitamin D intake.
Figure Out New Travel Plans
Unfortunately, summer is the only time the whole family can take a vacation together. If you’re anything like me, you probably plan ahead of time to maximize on airfare savings. This proactiveness has blown up in some of our faces. There are a few things you can do to ease anxieties surrounding summer travel.
Contact the Airline
I most certainly don’t plan on traveling this summer. Luckily, I was able to get the airline to honor my tickets on a future date.
With the uncertainty in this world, some of us might not even want to get on a plane at all.
Try explaining your situation to the airline to get a full refund. This peace of mind will help you cope with the emotions surrounding this pandemic much easier.
Go on Local Getaways
Just because you can’t go on your annual trip to the Bahamas doesn’t mean you can’t get away with your loved ones. Plan local getaways.
Spend a long weekend at a neighboring beach community. Cross state lines and rent a cabin by the lake. Go camping at a National Park a few hours away. Just get out of the house!
Sadly, COVID-19 has seen unemployment rates skyrocket. This lack of funds can do a real number on someone’s mental state. Therefore, local getaways might still be outside of your budget.
Don’t dwell in what you can’t do. Embrace what you can. If you can’t do a local getaway, have a staycation.
Set up your backyard like a camping adventure and sleep outside with the kids. Take long bike rides with your loved one, catching sunsets from random viewpoints. Me personally, I plan on chasing waterfalls on hikes with the kids as many weekends as possible!
Make Your Own Entertainment
The long winter days are what sets my SAD into a tailspin. However, the daytime summer heat can feel just as long. Without our regular events to break up the monotony, it’s easy to get into your head. Here’s what I plan to do to get out.
I was heartbroken when I found out the Bon Jovi concert was postponed for another year. I only waited my whole life! So, instead of going to Bon Jovi, I’m going to bring Bon Jovi to me.
The day I was supposed to go to the concert, I’m going to set up my projector and sound system outside of my house.
My friends are coming over, and we’re going to watch the Rock in Rio Tour, lawn-seat style. We’re even considering a signature cocktail by the name of Tommy and Gina Tonics!
Summer blockbusters are always a big deal in my house. While watching Trolls World Tour on-demand instead of in the movies sufficed, it wasn’t ideal. It reminded me of our current situation and took the joy out of the experience for me.
One positive to come out of this pandemic is the return of drive-in theaters. You can still get the ambiance of going to the movies without the worries of contracting COVID-19. Plus, you won’t get yelled at for bringing food in!
Social Distance Parties
There are so many things to celebrate during the summer, including the 4th of July, graduation, weddings, and birthdays. Just because we’re socially distancing doesn’t mean that these occasions are canceled. We just need to adapt.
We’re celebrating our graduates with drive-by parades. All of the neighbors are sitting in the front yard, chatting with one another from afar. Seeing the community together puts everything in perspective. Part of my anxiety is I feel helpless, but the reality is that we’re not alone.
Without the option to throw a big wedding, people are finding creative ways to celebrate.
As for birthdays, I’m grateful for my big backyard. We’re hosting my niece’s party here, and my husband is measuring out areas six feet apart for sitting.
For those without a backyard, don’t worry. Plan a gathering at a local beach or park. Just make sure to reserve a spot ahead of time to ensure the area is functioning and adhering to social distancing guidelines.
While these measures are not the same as usual interactions, seeing my loved ones’ faces will be enough to get me through this difficult time.
Why COVID-19 Anxiety Won’t Ruin My Summer
Coming out of the winter is always tough. This year might be the roughest. So, I’m doing everything I can to start the season off right.
I’ve figured out from where my COVID-19 summer anxiety stems. I’m bummed about the changes to my summer routine. Now that I’ve acknowledged the cause, I need to adapt my expectations and lifestyle.
At the end of the day, this virus is out of my control. However, it doesn’t need to be in control of me. I can’t let my SAD carry over into the summer. So, I will still get out, spend time with my loved ones, and have fun in the sun!
- The first step to quelling your COVID-19 summer anxiety is to pinpoint what’s triggering it.
- Reschedule travel plans and plan local getaways to get outside more.
- Create your own entertainment opportunities to speed up long summer days.