While preparing to write this blog, I spent some time searching on the internet for pictures that are related to summer. The result was brightly colored pictures of the sunny outdoors, people having fun on the beach, or relaxing while on holiday. For some, the summer period brings out the more relaxed, bright, and light version of themselves. However, the summer period can also create a number of hurdles to others. I wished to write this blog to help raise more awareness around some of the difficulties that your friends, loved ones or people you know could  potentially be facing during the summer period.

Our body

Summer is the time to peel away the many layers of clothing, to clothes that reveal parts of our body that we would generally cover during the winter. For instance, we tend to show our arms, our legs and our necks more during summer. While for some this is necessary to survive the heat of our summer, for others this could act as a big stressor. For persons who struggle with body-image related anxieties, who carry self-harm scars, or who struggle with eating disorders, to name a few, showing more of their body could potentially be very difficult.

Our bodies generally also need more care during the summer, such as requiring more frequent personal hygiene routines due to sweating more, or popular expectations of having smoothly shaved legs or nicely painted toe nails. This could also be very difficult for persons who are going through periods where, for instance, due to symptoms of anxiety or depression, finding the energy to care for oneself could sometimes be very hard.

But it’s a nice sunny day

Nice sunny days in the summer draw a lot of people to go out and enjoy the day in the sun and make the most of the beautiful weather. For a person who is going through a difficult time or struggling with mental illness, it might be that they need to stay indoors at times, or it  may be a big challenge for them to spend a day outside. At the same time, some might feel guilty at the idea of having missed out or of having disappointed others if they do not go out with family and friends.

In the second part of this blog, I will share some tips and ideas for friends and relatives of persons who wish to support someone who is struggling with mental illness with some of the difficulties that could be experienced during the summer period.

Rebecca Cassar is a Family Therapist practicing the Systemic Approach. She specializes in offering therapy to families, couples and individuals who are experiencing distress in their relationships. She can be contacted on rebecca@willingness.com.mt or call us on 79291817.