For some people, summer is a time of relief from their dreary-weather-induced Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D. 1), but summer isn’t a sanctuary for everyone. What about folks who are sensitive to heat due to medication side effects? How about introverts who suddenly have more daylight hours to negotiate social battery? I also think about veterans and immigrants who endure the bomb-like sound of fireworks that go off consistently from June through September, and fatphobic messaging about “Summer Bodies”. I don’t mean to be a downer, but summer isn’t all that pleasant for everyone. 

Often in this work my clients ask me, “how do I heal this ____?” I conceptualize healing, not through removing an element of who you are, but through increased access to sitting with and tending to big and challenging emotions that accompany that part of yourself. Sounds simple enough, but as many of us know, it isn’t a simple skill to integrate. So what do you do when you’re being invited to 4 different summer social gatherings and you’re dreading every single one? What do you do when your neighborhood is alight with fireworks and you want to run into the street telling everyone to stop? That’s when I turn towards self-regulation and co-regulation. 

In self-regulation, I try to look at myself as a kid, and through a gentle parenting lens ask, “what do you need right now to feel better?” Intuition can be a powerful source of information for unmet needs. I might need to cancel a few plans. That’s okay. 

In co-regulation, I am reaching out to my support system to help me move out of my fearful or activated thought rumination and feel the safety and protection of those I trust. It’s a way to detach while also staying present and connected. 

In my opinion, coping skills are all about trial and error. Let your intuition lead and explore different supports that sound interesting. There isn’t a single magic cure, but more an accumulation of coping skills that in combination, help us reclaim our power and autonomy within our own lives.