Editor's Picks General Mental Health

Note from the Editor: Summer and Mental Health

There are a few things I wish someone had said to me years ago. So this list is for past me and for anyone else out there who can relate to the contradictory feelings that come with the summer months.

As a nonprofit, we rely on donations so we can continue championing mental health. Before you start reading, please consider donating.
$
Select Payment Method
Personal Info

Credit Card Info
This is a secure SSL encrypted payment.
Terms

Donation Total: $2


This month here at Libero, our theme is “Summer.” When I look back on the past 8 years since I first entered into recovery, I am reminded what an important time summer was for me and my mental health.

On the one hand, the improved weather, free time, and trips home provided much-needed rest. On the other hand, too much free time, the need to wear less clothing, and watching everyone else having a great time while I sometimes struggled to make it day-to-day, made me feel left out.

When I reflected on what I wanted to share in this month’s Note from the Editor, I wasn’t sure where to begin. After some thought, I realized there are a few things I wish someone had said to me years ago.

So this list is for past me and for anyone else out there who can relate to the contradictory feelings that come with the summer months:

1. Don’t compare your summer to others’

First, and most importantly, don’t compare your summer activities or how you experience summer with someone else’s activities or (how you perceive) they experience it.


Are you enjoying this article? We are a nonprofit and depend on donations to keep running. If you are enjoying this article, would you consider making a $2 donation?
$
Select Payment Method
Personal Info

Credit Card Info
This is a secure SSL encrypted payment.
Terms

Donation Total: $2


It almost goes without saying at this point, but remember that what people post on social media is only the highlight reel.


What people post on social media is only the highlight reel.


Guaranteed your Instagram feed right now is filled with beach shots, pictures of BBQs, outdoor activities, parties, and nonstop fun. Anyone’s real life would fade in comparison.

Similarly, comparing your experience with that of your friends (even offline) isn’t helpful. We are all our own people and on our own journey. Don’t fall into the trap of basing how your summer should look on how others spend their summer.

Of course, the same goes for body image. As you spend time around others or scrolling through social media, don’t fall into the trap of comparing how everyone else looks with how you look. We are all different people and we all have different bodies.


The same goes for body image. We are all different people and we all have different bodies.


I remember when I was in the throes of my eating disorder and struggling with negative body image. I was at the mall with a friend, overcome by insecurity. As I sat there, trapped in a cycle of comparison, my friend said something that has always stuck with me. He said, “Look around at all these people, no two of them have the same body. So what makes you think there’s something wrong with yours?”

Always remember: comparison is the thief of joy. (Theodore Roosevelt)


Remember: comparison is the thief of joy.


2. Do the things you love, not the things you think you ‘should’ love

I’ll admit it: I am a nerd. I am also an introvert. If faced with the choice of going to a big BBQ on the beach with friends, or sitting at home with a few people playing board games, I’m sure you can guess which one I’d choose.

As part of leaving behind the comparison trap, you also have to embrace the things you love and make summer your own.


Embrace the things you love and make summer your own.


If that means you sit inside playing video games with the blinds open enjoying the natural light, or you spend the afternoon sitting on your private patio rather than at the public pool, great! There is nothing wrong with doing the things you love, even if they don’t match up with what most people think summer activities should be.

I encourage you to make a summer bucket list and/or a list of activities that you enjoy. Make that your summer guide. It helps to have activity categories such as “indoor” “outdoor” “social” and “private.”


I encourage you to make a summer bucket list and/or a list of activities that you enjoy.


I do want to add the disclaimer that while it’s important to focus on doing the things you want to do, it is also important to be aware of the “why” behind them. If you are struggling with depression, bad body image, or social anxiety, your mind may tell you that you don’t want to go outside, be around people, or even get out of bed. And while it’s important to honour your feelings, it’s also important to know when to take a small step outside of your comfort zone to ensure you don’t fall into the trap of letting negative thoughts take control.


Know when to step outside of your comfort zone to ensure you don’t let negative thoughts take control.


3. Wear what feels most comfortable

Specifically related to body image and eating disorder recovery, remember to wear what feels most comfortable to you.

In summer the weather gets hotter in most places and this often means wearing cooler clothing. However, if you aren’t comfortable showing a lot of skin, that is okay!

While part of recovery and embracing your body means no longer hiding it; the reality is that certain types of clothes can be triggering, especially on a bad day. There is nothing wrong with acknowledging some “clothing triggers” and making choices to avoid them.


There’s nothing wrong with acknowledging some “clothing triggers” and making choices to avoid them.


There are lots of options that will keep you cool while still leave you feeling less exposed such as loose-fitting clothes, longer shorts, light fabrics like cotton or bamboo, long dresses, one-piece swimsuits, and bikinis with skort bottoms.

Again, this isn’t about hiding your body because it is bad or because you should be ashamed; it’s about knowing yourself, honouring your feelings, and avoiding triggers when you need to. (some more great tips for body positivity in the summer)


This isn’t about hiding your body; it’s about honouring your feelings.


4. Realize it’s okay to be happy and it’s okay to be sad

I want you to know that it’s okay to be happy during the summer and it’s also okay to be sad.

It may sound strange, but at times, I have actually felt guilty about feeling happy. Similarly, I’ve also felt like I can’t embrace my joy because I assume it is fleeting and not worth getting attached to.

This approach prevented me from embracing all that summer (or life in general) has to offer. The truth is, there is nothing to fear about joy. And I can speak from experience when I say this: the more you allow yourself to fully feel joy, the more it tends to stick around.


The more you allow yourself to fully feel joy, the more it sticks around.


Amidst the joy, though, it’s also okay to be sad (and it’s normal, too).

Whether you are in recovery for an eating disorder or navigating the waters of depression or anxiety, there will be days when even the brightest sun, clearest skies, and warmest weather won’t lift your mood. There will be days when those around you are pestering you to “cheer up!” get outside and have fun. And you won’t feel it. That’s okay.

There is never a right or wrong way to feel; this is just as true in the summer as it is any other time of the year.


There is never a right or wrong way to feel; this is just as true in the summer as it is any other time of the year.


5. Remember: summer is just a season

Lastly, remember that summer is just a season, like all the rest. It has its pros, but it also has its cons. And just like any other season, If recovery, your mental health, or life circumstances get in the way of this summer going as you may have liked or planned, there will be other seasons. So don’t stare in the rearview mirror with regret; focus on the road ahead and keep moving forward.


Focus on the road ahead and keep moving forward.


PS: Don’t forget to check out liberomagazine.com/summer for all our articles related to Summer + Mental Health!

Remember: you’re always stronger than you think.

Founder + Editor at Libero

Lauren is the Founder and Editor of Libero. She started Libero in April 2010, when she shared her story about her struggles with an eating disorder and depression. Now Lauren uses her writing and videos to advocate mental health and body positivity. In her spare time, she enjoys makeup artistry, playing Nintendo, and taking selfies with her furbaby, Zoey.

If you enjoyed this article, please donate $2

As a nonprofit, we rely on donations to keep our magazine and community running. If you enjoyed this article, please consider donating:

$
Select Payment Method
Personal Info

Credit Card Info
This is a secure SSL encrypted payment.
Terms

Donation Total: $2


Report ad as harmful | Ad Policy
Don't Like Seeing Ads? We are a nonprofit and ads are one way we raise money to keep our site and projects going. If you don't like to see ads on our site, signup for monthly donations and help us fully fund ourselves through donations!

Subscribe

Support Libero Monthly

We are a nonprofit. Support our magazine by signing up for monthly donations!

$15 of $250 raised
$15 of $250 raised

Though other online publications are starting to charge monthly subscriptions for their content, as a nonprofit, we want our articles to be available free of charge. This means we rely on ongoing donations to keep our magazine running and our website growing.

If you enjoy our content, please sign up to support us monthly! (you can change your mind at any time)

$

You have chosen to donate $5 monthly.

Select Payment Method
Personal Info

Credit Card Info
This is a secure SSL encrypted payment.
Terms

Donation Total: $5 Monthly

What are you ‘Free from’?

Micaela: Free from Shame | Libero Magazine 1

Report ad as harmful | Ad Policy


Donate to Libero Magazine

We are a nonprofit. Please help us continue to champion mental health by making a donation!

$
Select Payment Method
Personal Info

Credit Card Info
This is a secure SSL encrypted payment.
Terms

Donation Total: $25 One Time

Do you blog about mental health?


Report ad as harmful | Ad Policy


Don’t Like Seeing Ads? We are a nonprofit and ads are one way we raise money to keep our site and projects going. If you don’t like to see ads on our site, signup for monthly donations and help us fully fund ourselves through donations!
Micaela: Free from Shame | Libero Magazine 1 Send us your story! [click here] or post your “Free from___” photo on Instagram and tag us: @liberomagazine!