Summertime weather in Japan is oppressive, and coping with the heat and humidity can take a psychological and emotional toll because extra energy is needed to get through the day. To make life during summer even more draining, many Japanese companies increase production expectations, which results in more required overtime. For college students, this is when the final push for graduation begins. For new arrivals to Japan, trying to settle in during the least hospitable time of year is difficult. People are coping with many such issues during the summer months.
Because of the increased pressure during the summer months, it becomes even more important to practice good social emotional self-care. Attending to what your social and emotional needs are will allow you to balance your needs for social interaction and time alone. This will improve your ability to capitalize on social opportunities that contribute positively to your overall sense of wellbeing. Capitalizing on positive social interactions is important because they have restorative properties. Each positive social engagement reinforces our sense of self-worth. It is important that we put effort into feeling like we have social value, and there are some simple steps we can take to do so.
Paying attention to what energizes us, what sparks our passions, provides clarity into which types of activities are most likely to contribute to a healthy self-image. Activity-based social interactions reduce anxiety and increase the likelihood of enjoying ourselves, even if we don’t necessarily hit it off with everyone in the group.
Choosing settings for socialization with an eye toward places that inspire and promote joy will increase the likelihood of having a good time. If you enjoy the outdoors or coffee shops or museums, select activities that take place in those settings. Also choose engagements that include activities you enjoy, whether that is small talk, heavy political conversations, or communal silence. For each of these, some group has it as a central focus. By choosing to pay attention to location, activity, and group focus, we set ourselves up for social success.
Being success-focused when planning a social life will ensure that negative interactions are minimized and, by association, will minimize overall negativity in life. It is important to pay attention to unsuccessful outings and not repeat them. Being true to one’s self is even more important in the summer months because of the oppressive weather. It is easy to forget that we are drained and a bit more on edge due to the heat and humidity. If we keep this in mind, along with the impact this has on our ability to be patient, we can avoid situations that increase feelings of negativity. Seeking out things that increase positive feelings and being true to ourselves allows us to improve our lives. Summer creates an opportunity to take stock of our routines and habits. Summer can be a time of renovation. We can take the season to focus on what really makes us happy, and do more to promote our own happiness. Being happy requires maintenance. In summer, this becomes clearer because the weather reminds us to take more care in everything we do.
For more than 20 years, I’ve been helping individuals, couples, and families. In 2009, I opened Adjustment Guidance here in Nagoya and offer therapy and help in English. Appointments are available Tuesday through Saturday.
All communications are confidential. Your first appointment will be free. Memberships: American Psychological Association, Japanese Psychological Association, American Chamber of Commerce in Japan