Grieving in Summer

Grieving in Summer

By Leah Shefsky LCSW, Chaplaincy Coordinator and Grief Specialist

The sun is out, birds are chirping, flowers are in bloom and there is no doubt that summer is in full swing. When we are grieving, the outside world often feels inconsistent with what is happening inside, more often in the summer. In many ways grief fits comfortably in winter: dark, long, cold, and isolated, with no end in sight. But we know that grief does not have a timeline, and it does not necessarily cycle through with the seasons of the year.

Here are some ways to take a little extra care of yourself in the summer.

  • Make a plan: Planning is key, especially if going to an event. Know who your support people will be, have an exit strategy, and spend some time thinking about and anticipating what an event might be like.
  • Practice saying yes: Say yes to the friend inviting you to play pickleball or out to dinner. Being with people and trying something new can be a wonderful support and/or a brief distraction.
  • Practice saying no: It is also okay to say no. Your social stamina may not be as strong as it used to be. You do not have to overdo it or push yourself too hard. Finding the balance between saying yes and no is an art, not a science.
  • Go outside: This might feel like the simplest thing on this list, but a little bit of sunshine, Vitamin D and fresh air can help clear your head. Get your body moving and let the sun serve as a sweet reprieve.
  • Feel your feelings: It can be easy to use the celebratory atmosphere of summer as a full-time distraction but pushing down the feelings related to your loss all the time never ends well. Cry, scream into a pillow, journal, talk to a friend, or whatever else you find helpful to continue to feel them.

Ask for help: At JCFS Chicago we have a variety of resources to support you on your grief journey. Contact grief specialist Leah Shefsky or visit our Illness, Loss and Grief Support webpage.