Sunshine, vacations, playing outside, pool time and parties. Summer conjures a celebratory energy and a lightness of being. It’s a time to revel in the moment and savor the sweetness of life.

Unless it’s not.

While summer can bring hope and happiness after some long, dark months, it’s not always a joyful frolic through fields of flowers. Whether you’re going through hard times right now or perpetually struggle to manage your mood, you’re not alone. Summertime depression weighs heavy on the soul and can make the retreat into one’s shell especially oppressive due to the contrasting surrounding energy. It’s common to feel isolated and alone when summertime sadness hits.

If feeling cheerful is a challenge this season, consider these tips to help you cope:

Meet yourself where you are.

No matter what your mood, it never serves to deny or hide how you feel. It can be difficult to experience sadness when it seems like everyone around you is happy and living their best lives. Know that there’s nothing wrong with you for feeling something different. Don’t try to match other people’s energies or force yourself to be happy. Instead, acknowledge the truth of how you feel and simply sit with it. Let yourself be where you are without judgment or pressure to change.

Get Curious.

The antidote to judgment is curiosity. Judging yourself keeps you stuck in the same place but curiosity helps you learn about yourself, which leads to growth. So be curious about how you feel. Notice the experiences of your body, your energy level, and the thoughts that occupy your mind. Pay attention to how your thoughts relate to your emotions. Ask yourself what you do to help or hinder your suffering. Explore your personal patterns, how they formed, and whether or not you want to create change. Do your best to investigate what’s happening with interest and compassion.

Know your body.

If you struggle with your mood, know that your physical health plays a significant part in how you feel emotionally. The mind-body connection is very real. Food matters! If you consistently eat crap, you’re going to feel like crap. Same if you don’t consistently get quality sleep or sufficient exercise . You may also be suffering from hormonal imbalances, vitamin deficiencies, or some other health issue that is making you feel sad. If possible, enlist the support of a holistic health practitioner who understands the many factors that may be impacting your mood.

Release what doesn’t belong to you.

Often when I explore depressed mood with my clients, we discover how much they’re taking on that they don’t need to carry. This may relate to family or work responsibilities. Maybe you feel obligated to care for others or pick up some slack. While this is noble it doesn’t necessarily help anyone if it’s leading to your depletion and burnout. Even if you’re legitimately laden by responsibilities, notice what you take on that you actually have no control over–other people’s moods or behaviors, or outcomes, for example, and then let it go. Adjust your attitude as needed, delegate where you can, ask for help.

Sometimes what we take on is energetic. We may become burdened by the news or what’s going on in the world or in our communities. In many cases, depression is generational and passed down through family trauma. Furthermore, if you’re particularly open or sensitive, you may experience residual upset from other lifetimes. This is often the case when the intensity of your mood doesn’t quite match your lived experience. If you suspect this is true for you, I recommend getting professional therapeutic support from a qualified practitioner. Even if you’re not sure where your emotions are coming from, if you intuitively know that you’re carrying more than your fair share, commit to learning how to release what doesn’t belong to you.

Trust the process.

While summer may not seem like the best time to feel blue, these things don’t adhere to a schedule. Know that despite the Earth’s current relationship to the sun, the season you’re in is an invitation for you to heal something. Trust that it’s happening at the proper time and in the proper way for your life’s journey. Allow yourself to receive support and give yourself what you need at this time. Your celebratory season will come in time.

With Love & Compassion,

Adina Arden Cooper

I'm a lover, a guide and a supportive companion. An artist, an ally and an advocate. I help individuals connect more deeply with themselves and with others through shadow work. I believe that shared humanity is a powerful strength and that our stories connect us in beautiful and sacred ways. As I stumble, skip, or soar my way through this life, I invite you to join me on the journey. Likewise, I'm honored to travel with you. In witnessing one another, we find meaning.