It is reportedly the hottest day of the year, and when the sun is shining there is an assumption that everything is great in the world, but the summer period for many, can see anxiety peak and here's 3 reasons why:
1. The 6 week juggle
Most schools have broken up for the 6 week holidays, and for many parents that means 6 weeks of juggling work, business, home, kids, and the sheer pressure to deliver 'the perfect summer'. The pursuit of perfection and the voice of 'you only get 18 summers with your kids' can add a huge amount of worry and create anxiety to deliver a fun filled, daily itinerary for your kids, on a shoestring budget. Add in the looming cost of new uniforms, and making sure your family have a summer holiday with little or no household financial resilience, still having to work, and find childcare that works (and is affordable) and the fact that self-care on any level takes a nose dive when you are filling the cup of others - it's no wonder anxiety spikes in the summer months.
My advice: Take the pressure off to deliver the perfect summer. Source activities that are free. Make a den. Go strawberry picking. A picnic in the park. Make something from nothing. Go and hunt dinosaurs in the woods. All children need and want is your love and attention - leave the phone at home whenever you can, and be present. Don't overstretch yourselves financially to deliver a summer holiday that ticks all the boxes. Have a staycation. Go camping. Explore your local area. Don't feel the pressure to have to be jetting off somewhere exotic. Most importantly, MAKE TIME FOR YOU this summer in and amongst making memories for everyone else. Speak to your clients/employer about working more flexibly over the summer months to reduce some of the anxiety that juggling work/business and summer holidays brings.
2. FOMO - Fear of missing out
Countless studies show that the more time we spend on social media, the worse we feel about our own lives. It's human nature to compare ourselves to others and social media has so much to answer for. Falling down that comparison rabbit hole EVERY time you scroll seeing the expensive family holidays, the summer capsule wardrobe everyone has except you, the summer love stories, the friend fuelled festivals, the body perfect images staring straight back at you can make you feel like you are missing out on what every other person appears to have, and they strike a chord because these things are missing in your life, and others have the things that you want.
My advice: Social media is a PR platform where everyone is putting their best foot forward. It’s not reality. It doesn’t show the complete picture of someone’s life. Comparison is the thief of joy. Fill your feed with positivity. Unfollow the accounts who make you feel rubbish about yourself. Disconnect for a while. Focus on the life and people right in front of you. DON’T FOLLOW PEOPLE YOU DO NOT LIKE. Follow people who inspire you. People who empower you. People who genuinely make you sparkle. Be more mindful and conscious of what you allow to feed your mind.
3. Anticipatory change
September is a transition month - we're conditioned from a young age that September marks new beginnings, from nursery to university. Children start school, leave school, fly the nest and new jobs start. The summer is pre-loaded with expectations, new responsibilities looming and changes in routines - and for some parents, an empty nest for the first time in two whole decades. Leaving home for the first time to go off to university can be a worrying time for teenagers - will they make new friends? Will they cope away from home? Have they made the right decision on the course? Will they get the results they need?
My advice: With any anticipatory change, it's easy to fill your head with 'what if's' and it's these two words that feast on your anxiety. Together these two words get our minds thinking about the consequences of something happening, before it's even happened. They take you out of your present and into a future that hasn't happened yet. When we worry, we always focus on the negative, undesirable consequences. Next time you have a 'what if' moment, switch it to a 'positive what if' and imagine the best case scenario, rather than the worst case one.
Catherine Asta Labbett, is an award winning Female Focused Psychotherapist. She works with women all over the world offering skype and in person therapy from her Yorkshire clinic base, and in 2019 was awarded a Fellow from the National Council Psychotherapists for her outstanding contribution to her profession.
Catherine works with women at all stages of their life and has also has a celebrity client base. The resident expert on the BBC Radio Leeds award winning Stephanie Hirst show and a regular contributor in the media - as heard and seen on BBC Radio 5 LIVE, Grazia, Marie Claire, Women's Health Magazine, Boots, Virgin and more.
Catherine was the winner of the Northern Blog Awards 2018 'One to Watch' and a finalist in the UK Blog Awards 2019. She is a finalist for 'Mentor of the Year' 2019 with Forward Ladies and was voted in the Top 10 extraordinary women in the 2019 Knomo London Awards.
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