Depression is a mood disorder that can cause intense feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and worthlessness. While it can occur at any time, depression is often more pronounced during the winter months. However, there is also a form of depression that occurs during the summer months known as summer depression. This blog post will discuss how seasonal affective disorder (SAD) can affect some people in the summer months and provide tips for combating summer depression.
The Other SAD: Summer Seasonal Depression
We most often hear about SAD, seasonal affective disorder, in the wintertime as daylight hours shorten, darkness consumes more of the day, and temperatures drop. The lack of vitamin D and daylight affects how the brain produces melatonin, and our brain is cued to make us tired and prepare us for sleep. As a result, SAD in the winter can bring about many similar symptoms to depression: lethargy, lack of motivation, pervasive feelings of melancholy, sadness, despair, and much more.
Typically, it is recommended for people to take advantage of daylight when available, utilize high potency vitamin D supplements, or undergo light therapy whenever possible, in addition to other lifestyle practices.
Come spring and summertime, individuals living with SAD see a quick turnaround in their mood, energy, and overall demeanor.
However, there is another side to SAD, sometimes called Reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder, in which people experience symptoms of depression and other mental health struggles during the summertime. Chemically, the function of Reverse SAD is not the same because the body has the chance to receive ample amounts of daylight and vitamin D. However, the excessive amount of sunshine and energy can feel overwhelming and uncomfortable to some, as do the hot temperatures and long daylight hours.
Daylight, temperature, and long hours aren’t the only contributing factors to the frustration of summertime for some people.
Summer seasons can be full of heavy expectations, which contrasts the winter, a time for rest, hibernation, and relaxation. Sometimes, summer is dedicated to being full of activity, having endless fun, spending time outside, shorts, bathing suits, etc. For someone who prefers indoor activities, is an introvert, or might struggle with body image issues, summertime can be an intimidating season, leading to insecurities and feelings of low self-worth.
If you are feeling any symptoms of depression or feeling like you are not quite in tune with your mind, your body, and the world around you, you are not alone. There are some tips you can try to live your life the way that suits you, in balance and in season, any time of year.
Blackout Shades For Deeper Sleep
We have extended hours of sunshine during the summertime that cue our brain to stay awake and active. Early bedtimes can be a challenge when the brain isn’t producing enough melatonin to prepare the body for sleep.
Blackout curtains in the bedroom can darken your sleep space and help contribute to feeling tired. Noise reducers and bringing blackout shades into your room can help mitigate some of the less pleasant conditions of summer.
Keep Your System Cool
Technology has given us many ways to keep ourselves cool during the summer heat. Though summer is often relished for its warm relief from winter and spring, it can be extremely uncomfortable when summer is especially hot. Use fans, stay hydrated, and utilize other ways of keeping cool. Cold towels that have been frozen or drenched in ice water can be helpful on pressure points in your body for keeping your system cool. There are also slim fans that attach to the edge of your bed to help circulate cold air.
Spend Time In The Shade
Isolation is a struggle for people dealing with summer depression when it seems like everyone else wants to be outside in the sunshine. Everyone has to beat the heat at some point during a summer day. Coordinate activities that include shade or bring the shade with you. Still, spending time outside and spending time with others, and being physically active will help feelings of depression.
Remember It’s Just A Season
Depression is a real mental health disorder that does not simply go away without treatment, therapy, and support. Seasonal depression, on the other hand, is a passing experience and will be alleviated at the end of the season. If your depression systems remain into the fall and winter, reach out to your doctor or a mental health professional for an assessment.
Although summertime is often considered a time of happiness and fun in the sun, it can be a difficult time for some people. If you are struggling with addiction or depression this summer, know that you are not alone. There are many resources available to help you get through this tough time.