Beat the Heat (And the Anxiety it May Bring)

Tags: anticipate joy, counseling, member service, anxiety, TAFP Texas Academy of Family Physicians

By Anticipate Joy

The sun is out, the school year is drawing to a close, and Texas is embarking upon absolutely balmy 100+ degree weather. Summer is officially here.

While the summer season is always depicted as a chance to relax and unwind, it can be a very stressful time. Trying to plan vacations, enduring an influx of clients rushing to get appointments before school starts back up in August, and missing out on time with loved ones who might be home while you’re at work can all be stressors impacting your mental health. Combine that with all the challenges this year has brought with the pandemic — specifically impacting your industry so greatly — can lead to a great deal of built-up anxiety going into the summer months.

However, another potential anxiety inducer not as frequently discussed is the heat that summer brings. The same physiological effects caused by heat — sweating, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, etc. — can resemble the symptoms of a panic attack, triggering higher sensations of anxiety. In addition, the long-lasting summer sun can throw off your circadian rhythms and impact sleep time, which in turn can affect mental health by bringing about more anxious experiences. Humidity too has been shown to negatively impact concentration levels, leading to apprehension and anxiety over working ability. To prevent the stress the sweltering summer sun can bring, here are some tips to make sure you are taken care of:

  • Spend some time indoors. While summer might seem like a time to be outside as much as possible, in Texas, the temperatures can make being outdoors unbearable and anxiety-inducing. Seek out cooler, indoor activities to engage in with loved ones to keep out of the sun.
  • Eat a healthy diet. As physicians, you’re fully aware of how important eating habits can be. However, a healthy diet can help you withstand the hotter temperatures, lessening the anxiety-mirroring symptoms heat may bring. Additionally, making sure you aren’t missing meals helps mental health as well, as it minimizes jittery sensations from low blood sugar and ensures the 95% of serotonin receptors located in the gut lining are being fueled.
  • Stay properly hydrated. Each of you knows how important hydration is, particularly so during the hot, humid summer months in Texas. It is essential to make sure you are following your own advice given to clients and drinking water at home and at work not only for your physical health but your mental state.
  • Build-in extra time for sleep. With the heat, falling asleep can be far more difficult than usual. It’s important that you try and allocate extra time to give yourself a chance to fall asleep and get your full rest. Additionally, anxiety can bring racing thoughts that increase difficulty in getting to bed. Giving yourself enough time to gently and slowly fall asleep will help keep those anxious thoughts from stealing hours of rest.

We at Anticipate Joy hope these tips help you to stay cool and calm over the next few hot months. However, we also want you to know that you are not alone if you are experiencing anxiety, and that you are worthy of further assistance if you need it. TAFP cares about you and your mental health and therefore offers a discounted rate with our licensed mental health providers here at Anticipate Joy. Our sessions are online, allowing you to meet with therapists from the comfort and convenience of your home, on your schedule. Click here to access TAFP's special discounts.

Cheers to a summer that is full of fun and free of anxiety.

With Love,

Anticipate Joy

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