Summer means different things to different people – for some, it’s a joyful time filled with sunshine, swimming, vacationing, and hanging out with friends and family. For others, summer can be a bummer. Typically associated with shorter days, colder weather and winter depression, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) may also affect people during the summer. SAD can be treated effectively with therapy, behavioral changes and medication; learning how to identify the causes and symptoms of summer depression can make it easier to cope.
A disrupted sleep schedule. One of the keys to staying stable and maintaining good mental health is getting enough sleep. During the summer, routines often go out the window – kids are home from school, so you may spend more time away from home and stay up later than you would in the winter.
With so much focus on getting that perfect “summer body,” a lot of people become more self-conscious about their physiques. Being critical of your body and feeling uncomfortable in shorts or a bathing suit can keep you from enjoying outdoor activities such as swimming, hiking and going to the beach.
If you’re a working parent, you may have to shell out a significant amount of money for childcare in the summer, not to mention paying for summer camps, sports and other activities to keep your kids occupied. The extra expense of taking vacations can also cause stress and anxiety.
Lots of people love basking in the warmth of summer, but for some, the heat can be both physically and mentally oppressive. This causes them to stay in and isolate themselves from other people.
Your body’s production of melatonin is affected by exposure to sunlight. Too much sunlight can affect melatonin production and disrupt your circadian rhythm, leading to insomnia and unbalanced levels of the mood-regulating hormone, serotonin.
There are typically many allergens floating around in the summer breeze, which can leave you feeling irritable, anxious and physically ill.
Summer should be a happy time, right? If you feel like you’re expected to enjoy summer and you don’t, you may think something’s wrong with you (although it isn’t).
Some signs you may be experiencing summer depression include:
Adhering to a daily schedule that includes a consistent bedtime and plenty of sleep can help you feel in control and lessen feelings of anxiety and agitation.
Having something to look forward to and spending time with loved ones can help stave off summer depression. Buy tickets to an outdoor concert, plan a BBQ with friends, or enjoy the silence of your favorite art museum.
Breaking a sweat and increasing your heart rate is a surefire way to lift your mood. If the heat keeps you from exercising, join an air-conditioned indoor gym, go to the pool or exercise early in the morning before it becomes too hot.
Turn on the AC or set up a fan, get comfortable and let the stress of the day fall away by listening to your favorite music, meditating, reading, or doing something else you enjoy.
If your depression is becoming unmanageable, a therapist or counselor can help you sort out your feelings and help you develop effective coping tools.
Are you ready to treat your summer depression with therapy? Contact a therapist at Kayenta Therapy to schedule an appointment today.