As Summer approaches, you’ll begin to see all different social media light up with exciting Instagram Stories and your friends’ Facebook posts. But the reality for many is that summer isn’t always as perfect and picturesque as it seems.
It turns out it’s completely normal to experience summertime sadness, which can manifest due to a number of reasons. A lot of it comes from perfectionism and the expectation that the summer will swoop in with fresh air and sunshine and that all of your problems will disappear.
In some places, summer is a season full of sweat, stink, and humidity. Because of these reasons, these people suffer from a condition known as seasonal affective disorder, or SAD.
Let’s take a closer look into summer depression, what causes it, how to treat it, and more.
What is Summer Depression?
Summer depression is also referred to as reverse seasonal affective disorder and it is formally recognized as major depressive disorder (MDD) but with a seasonal pattern. It is a form of seasonal affective disorder that only affects people during the summer, around the same time every year.
Unlike seasonal depression in seasons like fall and winter which causes symptoms like low energy and decreased activity, summer depression shows the complete opposite. These symptoms usually start around late spring or early summer:
- Loss of appetite
There are many well-known treatments like interpersonal therapy (IPT), cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), or the use of medications like antidepressants.
Reasons For Summer Depression
People go through most of the year with a certain routine, and whether it’s one they enjoy or not, it becomes the norm. Having a healthy routine can usually keep one away from depression.
But it’s a lot harder to keep a routine during the summer. There might be additional factors that contribute to a disrupted routine. For instance, if you have kids in grade school, you’ll need to entertain them all day, every day until summer break ends.
Body Image Problems
Summer is a prime time for parties and gatherings that revolve around beaches and pools. The problem here is many people don’t feel comfortable in their bodies and wearing a bikini, shorts, or bathing suit can be quite uncomfortable.
Since some people have body image issues and don’t feel comfortable removing multiple layers of clothing as the temperature climbs, they end up avoiding social situations entirely. This can be alienating and give you the feeling of being left out.
Summer vacations are supposed to be a getaway from your ordinary routine and relieve stress. But you have to think of your wallet before you leave for the holidays.
It’s especially true for parents that need to fork over cash for their kids’ summer camps. They might also need to hire a babysitter to take care of the kids while on the job. All of these extra costs and the declining economy can cause financial worries.
While many people enjoy the warm and sweaty days of summer, relaxing by a beach or an indoor pool, it’s not the ideal temperature for a lot of people.
The heat of summer can be unbearable and oppressive, causing people to stay in their air-conditioned rooms, watching nothing but TV all day. It might force you to reconsider your workouts or make meals at home a dreadful experience, contributing to your summer depression.
How to Cope With Summer Depression
Create a Schedule
As we mentioned before, a disrupted and unorderly schedule is one of the major reasons to blame for the cause of summer depression.
Without a schedule to help keep us on track, everyday life might start to look pointless and unproductive. Ideally, you should create a schedule and plan important dates on a calendar, at least a month before the summer break.
Be Around People
Although it’s tempting to stay away from the blazing sun, in the comfort of your air-conditioned home, it’s crucial to socialize and be around other people even if you don’t do much.
Being a part of an event and doing activities in group settings can really change your mood and help you connect with new people.
Good sleep is just as essential as a reliable schedule. During summer, the days seem to go on forever without an end in sight, so many people take advantage by sleeping all day to kill the hours. This does more bad than good and can actually assist in depression.
Having a good sleep schedule means having a set time to sleep and wake up every day. Sleep at least 8 hours a day, not much more nor much less.
Because of the immense oppressive heat during summer, many athletes and gym enthusiasts tend to abandon their exercise program, becoming lazy and miserable.
Instead of entirely forgetting about your exercise routine, you need to adapt to the environment. For instance, run early in the morning before the humidity sets in rather than later and try to swim more often.