Thursday, 28 July 2016

Summer (un)Loving


Over the past couple of weeks Twitter has been overflowing with people complaining about Summer and the recent unexpected heatwave we have been (un)fortunate enough to (not)enjoy. As much as I don't like to complain about hot and dry weather, because it is indeed a rarity in this country, I couldn't help but find myself silently agreeing with them and hitting the heart button on their tweets.  

If i'm honest, there is quite a lot about Summer that I dislike which will probably be an unpopular opinion ...

I was born in December and i've always felt more 'myself' during the colder months. It's quite difficult to explain to people but I just kind of feel generally more at one with the world and my environment. Things seem to go well for me during the Autumn/Winter months and I really do feel that I thrive during these seasons. It's when I feel my most sociable, productive and happy(ish). My mental health always feels better during these months than it does in the Summer. And I know this sounds quite strange, particularly as a large proportion of people suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and tend to feel more depressed during the colder seasons. I feel as though I am the total opposite to this!  

Personally, I love nothing more than being inside at home on a rainy day listening to rain bash against my windows. When it's cold outside one of my favourite things to do is snuggle up with a blanket and a hot water bottle in front of my favourite TV show. I love to feel cosy indoors and in the comfort of my own home. I also love to throw on a big coat and wellies and go for long walks in the cold with my dogs. There's just something about those seasons which I almost find quite romantic.   

One thing that a lot of people never really understand is how much I like dark days and when the sun sets early (I promise i'm not a vampire or anything!). For me there's just something so comforting about the cold dark evenings which from the start of Summer I find myself really looking forward to again. 

I think a huge problem is that with Summer comes along an enormous pressure and expectation to be outside enjoying yourself. We are almost forced into making the most of every sunny day because we don't know when the next one may be. 

If I spend a sunny day indoors I am immediately overwhelmed with thoughts like 'I should be outside enjoying myself like everyone else' or.... 'everyone else is having fun apart from me'. Someone recently said to me that the sound of people in their garden enjoying a BBQ with friends and family was like a kick in the gut and, even though you may not even know them, you feel a pang of loneliness inside that probably only you will ever understand. It was so reassuring for me to hear that another person experiences those kind of feelings and to know that even though I may at times feel it, I am indeed not alone.

Whenever there is any kind of social pressure to enjoy things I always find myself edging away from the crowd. I find Christmas to be quite similar. All the build up and hype and then the day arrives and it almost always ends up feeling slightly anticlimactic. There's a huge pressure on everyone to have the most perfect and instagramable day but it more often than not falls short of expectations.    

As someone who suffers from hayfever maybe it's just a given that I am meant to dislike the Summer? In fact, I don't think i've met anyone who suffers from hayfever who raves about this season. And why would they? We pretty much spend 3-4 months of the year with continued runny eyes and noses, persistent sneezing and itching and having to take drugs which barely minimise the symptoms but leave you feeling both drowsy and moody. It doesn't really sound like much fun does it!? 

Another thing that comes with Summer is a huge and stressful pressure to be 'beach body ready'. At the start of this year I had such grand ambitions to feel at my all time best for Summer 2016 and I envisioned myself in skimpy bikinis and clothes I wouldn't normally dream of wearing. What you wear and how you feel in your body are massive factors that come with the arrival of hot weather. If you love your body you will no doubt relish the months where you can show it off in the hottest Summer trends. It certainly doesn't help that all of the clothes that make Summer more bearable (shorts, mini skirts, vests, bikini's etc) are generally for those who are lucky enough to enjoy the feeling of body confidence. For the rest of us we generally spend these months feeling uncomfortable, sweaty and stressed.

Ironically the stress of attempting to achieve body confidence, and my idea of an ideal body in time for this Summer, ultimately resulted in me eating more and constantly feeling like a bit of a failure! Although I was pleased to see more body positive messages flying around on social media this Summer, my favourite one being - 'How to have a beach body? Take you and your body and sit on a beach".

I think as a woman we tend to struggle more during the hot months anyway. When I compare myself to my husband I am almost jealous that all he has to contend with in the morning is having a shower and getting dressed. Meanwhile I am stood there for ages, pearls of sweat forming on my face, trying to apply makeup which inevitably doesn't last the duration of the day anyway. And then comes out the hairdryer...a machine which blasts hot air at me which, lets face it, is the last thing I need! I really envy women who can just shower and go. I wish I could be one of those women. But instead every morning has felt like a battle to look semi presentable and it's taken twice as long due to the constant walking in and out of the room in order to try and cool myself down.

Outside, and in the park, men walk around freely and topless and no one bats an eyelid. Lets just imagine for a moment what would happen if I were to do the same.... 

Despite all of this, there are a few things about Summer I actually enjoy. As a dog owner we long for dry days when going for a walk doesn't involve washing the dogs every time we arrive home. It's nice to be able to eat out with our dogs and to sit outside establishments without getting frost bite. Ice lollies are another really good thing. Any of you who follow me on social media will see that I have indeed tried hard to make the most of this Summer and the good weather, and I have by no means closed myself off to it all. We've enjoyed days to the beach, glamping and fruit picking to name just a few of our adventures. It hasn't all been bad. Lets just say I am looking forward to September... 

It will be nice when the all the children go back to school and we feel that light crisp change in the air again.

I look forward to feeling at ease with wearing whatever clothes I want, and maybe even shoes too.

It'll be nice to be able to sleep once more with the reassuring weight of the duvet on top of me.

I'm looking forward to hot meals, lighting our log burner and covering up bad hair days with a wooly hat.

I love it when the clocks go back and we gain an extra hour in bed.

I can't wait to spend a weekend at home practising my crochet or making a new weaving without feeling pressured to go out.

I'm excited for the trees to go brown and to see the leaves on the ground again.

I love how pretty everywhere looks with a touch of frost.

It'll be good to feel like me again.            
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3 comments

  1. My mental health suffers a lot in the summer too. The heat really drains me and leaves me feeling so unmotivated, but on a cold rainy day I'll have so much energy and passion. Also topless men are THE WORST.
    www.moonandforest.co.uk

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    Replies
    1. I'm the same, it's weird isn't it how people respond to the seasons in different ways. It's already feeling a lot cooler this week which is making me happier! :-) Thanks for reading x

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  2. I relate to this so much! All through summer, I count down the days until autumn - the best season!

    I don't feel comfortable, let alone confident in summer clothes, I don't like the pressure to be outside (I do LIKE being outside but don't want to feel guilty on my lazy/anxious/low-mood days), I hate feeling hot and sweaty with accompanying melting face and frizzy hair, and yes to the hayfever thing. Also, I'm super-pale so don't tan (practically a crime!) and can't stay in the sun for too long.

    Man, it felt good to get that off my chest!

    So I do like the lighter evenings, dining al fresco, the amount of events that happen in summer, and cool evening breezes but give me frosty leaves, wooly hats, and cosy pubs any day! ;-)

    Sarah xx
    http://morethangreens.com

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