Our Blog

Summer Stress

Monday, August 1st, 2022

by Jennifer Heklenn, PhD


Some of you may be thinking, “Oh no, it’s already August!”  One of the most common responses I have heard this season when asking someone how their summer is going tends to be how it is just going by too fast.  Many of us yearn to enjoy the sun-filled days of summer.   Family get-togethers and social activities are abundant, and it is a time to enjoy activities that can’t be enjoyed other times of the year—golf, boating, fishing, and the like.

The very idea of summer often conjures up images of stress-free, relaxing days. The reality often is, however, that in addition to the warm weather, summertime can bring about stress. Changes in schedules can be difficult to adjust to, and the abundance of activities can contribute to this stress. Further, there is the pressure that we often place on ourselves this time of year. The expectation that summer is the happier, more carefree time of the year can contribute to guilt if, in fact, this is not our experience. We tell ourselves that the weather is so nice that we should be enjoying it more.  These are just a few of the examples of the stresses that summer can bring.

If you are feeling the stress of summer, here are some things that might be helpful to consider:

  • Be aware of the shoulds. Consider how you may be placing undue pressure on yourself with activities you think that you should or shouldn’t be doing. Adjust your expectations so they are realistic, and let go of the pressure you may be placing on yourself.
  • Keep your priorities. Many people take on extra commitments during the summer months. Further, children’s activities and schedules can quickly become overwhelming. Learn to say “no” to tasks or commitments that will add more stress to your life.
  • Take care of yourself physically. Even in the busyness of the season, maintaining your sleep schedule, eating healthy, and staying hydrated are important to managing stress and maintaining your mental health.
  • Consider what relaxes and recharges you. Be aware that the idea of doing nothing can be novel at first, but may quickly lead to boredom. On the other hand, being overscheduled can contribute to anxiety and feeling overwhelmed. Further, while it can be tempting to use vacation time to complete projects around the house or to schedule appointments, this may not be the most beneficial use of vacation time. Instead, take time to do activities you truly enjoy and bring about relaxation.
  • “Disconnect” for a while. Being constantly connected via social media can contribute to focusing on what others are doing or worrying about what others think about you are doing. Consider “disconnecting” from social media to focus on yourself and time with family or friends.
  • Focus on today. Let go of worries about what you haven’t done or what lies ahead. Making it a point to find joy in each day can help combat the stress of summer.

If you are having difficulties managing the stress of summer, or if stress is having a negative effect on your performance at work or on your relationships, consultation with a mental health professional may be helpful.   River Counseling Services in Platte, Sioux Falls Psychological Services, and Stronghold Counseling Services in Sioux Falls and in Yankton - who will meet you where you are, offering hope.  You may schedule an appointment with the Platte office at 605-337-3444, or meet with one of our Sioux Falls or Yankton based therapists from your own computer or smartphone.  To schedule an appointment please call 605-334-2696.