Fairwinds Clinical Director Amanda Wright gives her top tips for beating the summertime blues.
1. ASK FOR HELP
Unfortunately, one of the easiest things to do when you feel depressed or highly anxious is to avoid asking for help. Why is that, when reaching out could mean so much? Maybe you feel stuck, suspended or paralyzed. But if you can, nudge yourself to reach out to someone. If you can’t quite make a call to a place like Fairwinds for an appointment, just talk to a trusted friend. Maybe then you’ll be empowered to seek professional help if you need it.
2. GET GOOD SLEEP
Some people really struggle with this, and poor sleep has numerous mental and physical health consequences in the near and short term. A few tips to help you sleep: Get plenty of light during the day (the sun is best!), avoid screens before bed (blue light interrupts the production of melatonin, for one thing), avoid late-in-the-day naps and caffeine, and try to sleep and wake at regular times.
3. CHOOSE POSITIVITY
Seek the good, hold on to the positive and free yourself of what is toxic or negative. This seems obvious, but it is often a challenge, for example, to free yourself of a toxic relationship when it is a family member or longtime friend. You may need support from a friend or therapist to make positive change in your life, but if you can surround yourself with what serves your best self, you will notice many benefits to your well-being.
4. AFFIRMATIVE SELF-TALK
When we repeat ideas and phrases to ourselves, we change our thoughts and emotions, which, in turn, guide our actions and affect our entire being. Why not have those repeated ideas and phrases be affirmations of the good, the positive and the hopeful? By speaking to yourself in ways that support best outcomes—even before you fully believe what you are saying— you can transform your life.
5. TAKE AS PRESCRIBED
At Fairwinds, we see first-hand how medication, when prescribed thoughtfully by a licensed professional, can turn someone’s life around. It can be the reset that you need to lift yourself out of depression or ease the stranglehold of anxiety. We would like to reaffirm what you already know: Taking your medication as prescribed honors your process and keeps you safe.
6. PRACTICE GRATITUDE
Gratitude makes us healthier and happier, and that’s proven by science! Everything from hypertension to anxiety and depression are alleviated by a daily practice of gratitude.
Amanda Wright joined Fairwinds, Nantucket’s Counseling Center, in August 2019 as clinical director. She most recently was the social work supervisor in the Care Management Department at Boston Medical Center, overseeing a staff of 25 in the emergency department and intensive care units. She has been a clinical social worker since graduating with her master’s in social work from Simmons College School of Social Work, and she is experienced working with patients in critical care or suffering from trauma. A Toronto native, Wright has deep summer roots in Nantucket, but now lives on the island full time.