Did you start dreading the end of summer before it even began? Do you think you might be affected by SAD (seasonal affective disorder)? Or, do you notice a somewhat blah mood sometimes in the summer (not necessarily SAD)? It’s not just the winter blues; it happens in the summer too. Here are a few ways to help fend off or recover from the summer blues (or just enjoy your time) in Princeton, NJ.
Focus on self-care and do your best to get out of the house. Turn the TV off, especially the news and take a stroll around town. Go window shopping along Nassau Street. Of course, you could add a scenic detour onto the Princeton University campus along the way.
Then, take a moment to go inside the Greene Street Store just to see if they might have anything relatively inexpensive and fun (a little retail therapy that doesn’t break the bank).). Labryinth Books is worth going into for a book or two. Reading is a great way to escape and distract (in a great way), so go get a good book that you can really sink your teeth into. You might even enjoy sitting on a bench or going to a café to read for a while.
After you shop a little, think about stopping by the Café Vienna for a decaf coffee or tea (no need to increase anxiety with caffeine. In fact, try reducing your caffeine intake in general as a way of reducing anxiety). Rather than taking your order to go, sit outside to take a moment to enjoy your beverage mindfully, while also enjoying some good ole’ fashioned people-watching. You may wish to start reading your new book here too.
It has been well-documented that being outside in nature helps us heal, improves mood and overall health. Take some time to walk along the Delaware & Raritan Canal Trail to get your heart pumping and oxygen flowing to your brain. As you already know, exercise (walking is especially good) releases all kinds of natural feel-good chemicals that help improve mood/health and increase energy. On your walk, you may wish to be alone, invite a friend to join, or talk to a friend on the phone while you walk. I notice a big improvement in conversations when walking, rather than sitting still. Try it and notice if you feel any difference at all.
For something more formal, try taking a yoga or meditation class at Integral Yoga Community Center or Honor Yoga (or any other yoga studio you like in the area). You may wish to invite a friend to join you for a class too. It always seems easier to try a new class when you know at least one other person. However, if no one joins you, you might just meet someone new that you connect with in the class and make a new friend. You never know.
Speaking of friends, consider taking the time to go for a meal with a friend. You might even think about inviting someone new; someone you don’t know very well and want to get to better. We are social creatures and thrive in relationship. During the summer, it’s such a treat to go to Bon Appetit and sit outside to enjoy the beautiful sunshine. You might also enjoy going alone and eating mindfully or reading a book (without a phone or technology – you might benefit from taking a break away for an hour or so). This may be a good time to reconnect with YOU over lunch.
Make a conscious effort to take some time to re-connect to your surroundings, yourself, and enjoy the area. Princeton is so beautiful and filled with a lively energy. Try capturing some of that energy for yourself this summer.
Kimberly Atwood is a licensed psychotherapist and certified sex therapist in private practice in Princeton, NJ and Doylestown, PA. She specializes in sexual health, intimacy and relationship issues. For more information, please check out her website at kimatwood.com