Alberta Lawyers' Assistance Society

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The Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer

The Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer

Ah--the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer. July is wrapping up, and the first rays of August will be creeping over the horizon next week. We are in full-blown summer!

A Nat King Cole song from 1963 is the source of “lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer.” Here is what the chorus of the song says:

Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
Those days of soda and pretzels and beer
Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
Dust off the sun and moon and sing a song of cheer.

Lazy summer days are a delight— whether as a full-on vacation, a weekend getaway or just an extra day off during the week. We need periods of rest and recovery, and summer can be the ideal time to ease up (as long as you don’t have a big file blowing up!).

And hazy days—well, I think most of us would be good with hazy days, if we could just get rid of the forest fire smoke. But summer is a time for exploring the great outdoors, floating on river rafts, and enjoying backyards and local parks. Summer is glorious, and those of us who only experience smoky air from a difference have much to be grateful for.

Crazy days? At Assist, we encourage people to use more sensitive language than “crazy” as it is disrespectful from a mental health point of view, but I interpret these old song lyrics to mean crazy-fun, like fairground rides, running through sprinklers and water slides. Ah, summer. It is so good.

The lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer that Nat King Cole sings about is the glass half- full interpretation, but there is a darker, half-empty interpretation, of “lazy, hazy, crazy days” that is important from a mental health perspective.

Lazy days can be amazing— sleeping in and having nothing scheduled is a dream day for me. I read the newspaper from start to finish while I sip fresh coffee. But as someone who has experienced depression and a system-wide slowdown caused by hypothyroidism, I watch for signs that my laziness—staying in my pyjamas all day, choosing to stay in rather than going out, and even avoiding people—may be something more.

If your feelings of laziness or torpor extend beyond a couple of weeks during your summer vacation, you may want to check in with your family doctor. Or perhaps consult with an Assist counsellor if your mood is consistently low. Check out the self-quizzes on our website. Self-quizzes are not diagnostic instruments, but they can help you assess how you are doing relative to an external scale. They have informational value.

And consider whether you feel like yourself—sometimes this is the best test. Consider asking someone close to you, whose judgment you trust, if you seem like yourself. If a friend tells you that they have seen a change in your demeanor or personality, check it out. You can start with your family doctor to address physiological causes—and there are many physiological issues that bring emotional and psychological challenges. Please consider meeting with an Assist counsellor who can help you chart a safe path towards reconnecting with yourself.

Hazy days—well, many of us have had those. Waking up and feeling kind of hazy as you think about last night. Or maybe there is kind of a purple haze around you…. If you are concerned about substance use—whatever it is, and whether it is legal or not—please consider talking to one of our professional counsellors or peer support volunteers from the recovery community. Assist’s services are non-judgmental and confidential.

And as for “crazy” days—most lawyers have experienced days that go completely off the rails. As you head into your office, whether by commute or logging on, you mentally rehearse your day and the tasks on your to do list. But all of a sudden, different clients have crises, witnesses say something unexpected, and a deal changes structure. Perhaps your assistant calls in sick, too. Nothing goes according to plan.

But there is another kind of “crazy day” that we sometimes encounter—days where we feel out of control, like we are living on the edge, maybe even a bit manic. Or where our anxiety causes us to re-work our documents ad nauseam. Or we snap at people. We take sanctuary in our office with the door closed, hoping to calm our racing heartbeats while trying to figure out why this is happening.

It is easy to write off one of those days as a one-off, and it may not happen again—you just don’t know. That’s part of the inherent “craziness”—we don’t know where it came from or what set it in motion—so how can we know it won’t happen again?

If you want to explore how you react in situations, especially where you don’t like how you felt and were likely perceived, remember that Assist can help you unpack your experience and your feelings, identify triggers and equip you with tools to use when you feel that out-of-control feeling setting in.

One of our volunteers talks about building an “in case of emergency, break glass” plan before heading into difficult encounters. Proactive solution-building is absolutely covered as part of our program. Most issues are resolved more quickly the earlier they are raised, and developing proactive approaches is usually very time-effective, and time is one thing we all value.

In keeping with the positive spin on the lazy, hazy, crazy (fun) days of summer, both mindfulness and yoga will be on hiatus for the month of August. Our volunteer instructors are going to enjoy well-earned relax-and-refresh time so that we can continue to deliver excellent sessions in the fall. Thank you to Diana, Danica, Deni, Amanda, Gagan, Thu and Rosa—you have a large fan club who will miss you, but we will welcome you back with open arms in September.

We are continuing to run Red Mug Coffee Circles on Mondays at noon because participation remains strong, and it looks like some of our wonderful peer support volunteer lawyers are taking holidays in July, so we will not have a drought of volunteers which can sometimes happen in August. If you are missing mindfulness or yoga, please consider joining us for community and sharing on Mondays.

Let us enjoy the rest of summer, refresh ourselves, and come back ready for lawyering (and studying) in September. But summer is not magic, and sometimes we become aware of where our lives are falling short when we are not enjoying something like a vacation that we think we are supposed to enjoy, and sometimes summer is when we realize that we need help. Fortunately, Assist has a large roster of professional counsellors and peer support volunteers, so we can respond to your needs even during peak vacation times. And remember that our 24/7 crisis counselling line is handled by a senior Registered Psychologist 365 days of the year—please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-877-498-6898 if you are in crisis.