Summer is just around the corner. For us Middle Tennessee residents it can mean an increase in activities. We often associate winter weather with negative moods, but summer can bring about negative changes also. You would think with more sunshine it would have the opposite effect. But, in truth, we always need to manage our recovery process regardless of the season. We take a closer look at how temperatures affect our mood and give you some tips to help you stay sober.
How Temperatures Affect Our Mood
Staying sober starts with our attitudes. When we feel down and out, our minds begin to wander towards negative behavior. Can weather affect these thoughts? It might be one of the oldest correlations, but studies show that there are some ways the weather can influence our attitudes.
Many people will associate the winter months with bringing out depression. But, those who are recovering from addiction should be aware of the effects of too much sun and high heats. These studies show hot days can make a person irritable, jittery, or distressed. Rather than making positive improvements, researchers kept finding an association with high-temperatures and aggression. Sometimes group conflicts rose by 14% and interpersonal violence by 4%. All that to say it's probably worth focusing on extra self-care as the summer rolls in and watching for triggers.
Watch for Triggers
A trigger is a behavior or reaction to a past traumatic event. When a person is triggered, they may feel like they are no longer present in the situation. The heart rate would increase, the breath would get quicker, and emotions would become angry or sad. Get familiar with your triggers. At S2L Recovery, we shed light on the hope of addiction recovery through faith, perseverance, and trust in God. As you begin to experience rapid or extreme changes in mood, seek clarity through God’s word and remember the 7 Principles Curriculum.
Situations That Can Cause Stress
It’s hard to imagine during the lazy summer days what might evoke a reaction or a trigger. Here are some everyday situations that take place over the summer:
- Family Vacations
- Children being home on summer vacation
- Bar-b-ques with friends and family to celebrate the holidays
- Repairing the house
How to Beat Summer Stress
1. Remember to rest.
Summertime might make you feel like everything is a go. Repair the house, meet with friends, or travel on vacation. You're not a machine, and you don't have to keep going. Your consciousness needs a break. Actively include rest throughout your day and your week. Think beyond sprawling out in front of the television. Incorporate physical, mental, and spiritual activities that make you feel replenished.
2. Get moving.
We mentioned you could rest in more ways than one, and we want to encourage physical activity. Get out and explore in whichever way speaks to you. Workout, schedule walks in nature, or take a dip in the pool. Endorphins improve your mood, and they are increased when you start getting more active. Just remember not to overexert yourself. Raised body temperatures can bring on irritability.
3. Find Solutions
If you can identify triggers or know what they are in advance, you can use the information to find solutions. Pre-planning for a negative event will make you feel more equipped to handle the situation when or if it arises. Sometimes the act of writing down the solution combats the anxiety present in the situation.
4. Stay Social
We, humans, are social beings. We use social connections to bring us closer to each other and God. Studies have shown that those who maintain an active social life have decreased chances of strokes and heart attacks. If you are trying out a social situation that you've never been to before, don't forget to bring a sober companion. They can help you stay accountable and ease any social anxiety that might arise. When you need to leave, they can be your excuse to exit.
5. Have a purpose and meaning.
Having faith in something larger than ourselves helps us to gain clarity and meaning in our lives. Surrendering ourselves to Jesus Christ can help a man heal from detrimental addiction. It's through the light of the Lord we achieve intellectual and ethical alignment. Stay true to what is purposeful and meaningful in your life.
God has called on S2L Recovery to help our brothers stand up to addiction. Over the years, we've been astonished at the generosity He has shown us, and we are pleased with the strength provided to help so many individuals recover from addiction. Our program is a faith-based, non-12-step recovery journey. Over 60% of those who have completed our program remain sober. Why? Because we make strides to introduce others to growth principles that outline how to live a lasting and impactful life.