Got Beach Slump?

“I’m sick of the traffic! I can’t wait until summer’s over!”

“What? More construction? Things aren’t what they used to be!”

“I’m sick of the traffic! I can’t wait until summer’s over!”

“What? More construction? Things aren’t what they used to be!”

We all feel this way sometimes, especially if we’re residents. Who hasn’t sat on Route 26 and patiently (or not so patiently) endured the traffic? But, sometimes you have to think differently to help manage the stress that these feelings may cause.

Consider what the building and construction does for the area. Without it, you might not own your own house. Property would be even more expensive because there wouldn’t be enough houses to help control prices.

The crowds are an indicator that the area where you live is popular. That’s a good thing! It means property values go up, and, if you were to move, you can make a profit.

Another plus, for me, is that I like to see people having fun. I’ve always wanted to live in a resort area. It lightens my spirits. I know that I can enjoy it when the crowds are here, and then, with the change of seasons, welcome different pleasures during the months when things are quiet again. Seeing so many people in Bethany Beach reminds me that it’s a nice place to be. People don’t usually flock to ugly or undesirable locations (you didn’t!). So, as I stop-and-go down Atlantic Avenue, I can at least tell myself, “I live in a nice place. How fortunate I am.” OK, on a Saturday afternoon it might bear repeating, but it does work.

So many people tell me they moved to the beach for the scenery and the ocean, but, after a while, they say, with regrets, “I never see the water or go fishing any more.” Or: “I never do the things I used to do when I came here on vacation and loved the place.”

To which I reply: “No excuse!” We all have choices. You can choose to spend more time doing the things that motivated you to move here. I love to walk along the beach and I block out time to do it. If I don’t make the time, then it’s nobody’s fault but my own.

It all boils down to this: You are in the driver’s seat of your life. You really are. All you have to do is choose to believe it. And then, act on it. Make the time to do what’s important to you. If you don’t, you’ll be unhappy, and then you’ll feel like a victim. But nobody is victimizing you but yourself.

Everyone talks about depression. But (contrary to the drug companies’ TV ads), most depression is easy to prevent, if you deal with your mini-slumps before they turn into depression. So, if you’ve got beach slump, here’s a strategy for getting rid of it: Once a day, do something only for yourself. That’s right, I said for yourself. Most of us are taught to never be “selfish,” but, the fact remains that if we don’t care for ourselves, we’re not much good—to anybody, including ourselves.

Human beings sometimes need to refuel. How to refuel is up to you. Living at the beach provides a number of unusual opportunities for refueling. It’s just a matter of making that time for yourself.

If you’re a parent, you’re strapped for time. But what about being a role model for your kids? They need to grow up seeing a parent who not only works hard, but also knows how to relax and have fun. Kids need parents who take care of them and who take care of themselves.

If you work in a demanding business, your free time is in equally short supply. But how effective can you be in your business if you’re not happy?

Even the busiest of people have to take time out to sleep and eat for their physical health. Doesn’t it make sense to also take time out to refuel emotionally and psychologically? Maybe just an hour a day, plus one weekend day, can’t be too much to ask for your mental health!

So the next time you’re in traffic, or upset by anything else, try not to think of yourself as the victim. Instead, make yourself the solution. Change your schedule just a bit, enjoy this special place, and feel happier in the process.

I’m delighted to be writing this column, and look forward to any and all comments. Write in with questions or ideas and I’ll consider every one of them. I love the challenge and can’t wait to hear what you have to say. Make it your column too!