Secret Causes of Summer Stress

Summertime…and the living is easy—right? Well, not always. While we tend to expect a more relaxed lifestyle during summer, and the season definitely has its perks, summer can bring its share of unexpected stress. The following are hidden reasons for stress or summer sadness that affect many of us during the summer season:


Ever-Present Kids
For virtually all parents, the advent of the summer season is inexorably linked with three months off of school for their kids. While it’s nice to have kids around more often, and a relief to have a break from all the class projects, school fundraisers, and other events that go along with the school year, summer presents its own list of demands. Keeping the house clean, taking kids to various summer activities, preventing excessive bickering between bored siblings and, for working parents, finding alternate child care are just a few of the main issues that arise, each demanding its own set of solutions. Because there’s no standard answer that most parents choose, coming up with the right answer for your individual family’s needs can provide added stress.

Vacation Expectations
While vacations are important—in fact, necessary—for your health and happiness, they often bring additional unanticipated stress. The planning and execution, the possible financial strain, and task of shifting around your workload at your job are just a few of the logistical stressors (along with stopping the mail, getting a pet-sitter, finding someone to water the plants, and the list goes on). Today’s vacationing worker is much more likely to get a call from the office or from other people than in the days before computer access and cell phones, making it much more difficult to leave daily life behind—which is usually the whole point of going on a vacation! And if you’re taking small children on this vacation, well, you get the idea.

Covering Co-Workers
If you skip the vacation (as many people do), you may still experience stress from vacations that your co-workers take. With a significant number of people in a given workplace taking time off, the regular operations of the office can be disrupted. Even when vacations aren’t taken, when people become distracted by the fun times of summer, often work slows down.

Too Much Fun?

Much like the holiday season, summer can bring lots of excitement, social opportunities, and high expectations that can bring both excitement and stress. With the extra hours of daylight, people tend to cram more fun activities into their week. While this can make for a great time, it can also create a much busier schedule, which can lead to more stress. While we tend to think of traumatic, frustrating or otherwise negative experiences as the primarily stressful ones, even positive experiences that require effort or change can count as a type of stress, which can add up and take a toll.

Bathing Suits, Heat and Mosquitos—Oh, My!
Aside from these higher-impact sources of summer stress, there are several smaller sources of stress that simply come with the change of season: the stress of discomfort in a hotter climate (or financial stress from cooling expenses); the flies, mosquitos and other pests that come with the weather; even the stress of finding skin-baring clothing that’s both comfortable and flattering (how many people truly enjoy swimsuit shopping?), and other minor hassles can all create stress in their own way.

By Elizabeth Scott, M.S.