While summer is traditionally thought of as a stress-free time for fun and relaxation, there are still many reasons why one can start to feel down in the dumps from May to August. The Clog is here to walk through some of the factors behind summertime sadness, and what you can do to turn your summer around.
1. Being apart from your college friends
People aren’t kidding when they say long-distance relationships are tough. Not seeing the people you spend nearly every day with for months can definitely lead to feelings of separation anxiety, and it can be tiring and frustrating to try to maintain these friendships.
Solution: Write snail mail to your friends. Writing letters and postcards and sending them to your closest pals on a regular basis will make you feel more intimately connected with them no matter how far apart you are, and it will give you something to look forward to throughout the week. Sure, you can FaceTime or Snapchat to stay in touch, but nothing beats a handwritten letter where you can practically hear your friend’s voice reading aloud to you.
2. Realizing another school year has gone by and getting anxious about how quickly the future is approaching
Whether you just finished up freshman year or you’re headed into your last semester, it can be overwhelming to look back and be hit with the realization that another year of school, and of life, is in the past. Throughout the summer we have more time than normal to reflect, and sometimes this extra time can lead us thinking about how fast the days seem to be going by and the rapid speed at which post-college life approaches. And once we’re on this path, it’s easy to feel sad about the past or scared about the future.
Solution: Take up scrapbooking. Not only is this a fun way to keep yourself distracted with some busy work, but it will also allow you to capture your best moments from college so that you’ll always be able to carry them with you, no matter what the future may hold.
3. Experiencing some major FOMO about our friends who are all together
Nothing puts a damper on summer like sitting in your bed at home and seeing a Snapchat story of all of your pals off partying together somewhere. Throughout the summer, there are often moments when it seems like everyone else is doing something cool and we’re missing out. I mean, there are all the Instagram posts to prove it.
Solution: Go on a social media cleanse. Delete some apps such as Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram that can lead to some toxic attitudes, at least for a little bit. Not only has it been suggested that doing so provides significant mental health benefits, but it will also relieve you from the pressure of feeling like you need to have as much fun as other people are having. (P.S., they’re probably faking it.)
4. Feeling nostalgia for summers past
Something about the summer always seems to bring back a sharp sense of melancholy, as we are reminded of the good old days of summers gone by. From going to summer camp to eating watermelon at a birthday pool party, thinking about the sweet times of summers as a kid can lead to intense wistfulness as we realize how much our lives have changed.
Solution: Relive your childhood summers. Who says the good old days have to be over? Even if you’re working a full-time internship in a foreign city, it’s still possible to recreate your favorite memories from past summers. Head to a local pool with some friends, rent a bike and ride it around town, watch Disney Channel movies with popcorn and think back to simpler times.
5. Getting bored and feeling unproductive
As UC Berkeley students, we’re not used to having a lot of spare time to kill, so having lots of free time without school work can feel unfamiliar or uncomfortable. A lot of us like to feel as if we always have things to do, and even if we’re spending time at work or catching up on sleep, there’s usually lots of extra time during the summer and sitting around doing nothing can lead us to feel idle and bored.
Solution: Make a summer bucket list. Give yourself a realistic list of specific action items and try to complete them all before heading back to school in August. This can be anything from going stargazing to making tie-dye T-shirts. You can tailor the list to your own interests, and giving yourself achievable goals will help fight the boredom that may creep in as the summer goes on.
If you’re feeling down this summer, just know you’re not alone. There are lots of reasons why summers aren’t all fun and games as pop culture makes them out to be, and it’s perfectly OK to not feel like a ray of sunshine every day this summer. But just know that the Clog is always here to help you fight your summertime sadness.
Contact Hannah Nguyen at [email protected].