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Summertime Blues: Summer Seasonal Depression Really Is A Thing

The concept of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is pretty widely known — in its most common form. Plenty of folks dislike cold weather, shorter days, and abundant darkness. However, there’s more to SAD than dreading the winter. While roughly 5 percent of U.S. adults are diagnosed with SAD, some of them have the summertime blues.

Seasonal depression is less common in the summer but it impacts more people than we might imagine. Thus, like any type of depression, summer SAD requires our attention and must be taken seriously. So, if you feel irritable and struggle with low energy when everyone else is rushing to the beach, get ready to be validated. 

Common Signs of Summertime SAD

  • Irritability and restlessness

  • Insomnia 

  • Anxiety

  • Loss of appetite 

  • Headaches  (or  migraines)

  • A general lack of motivation 

Any or all of the above will arrive like clockwork as the heat and humidity kick into high gear. In some cases, individuals will experience such symptoms sporadically. But if these signs return year after year, there’s probably something more serious happening. 

What Causes Summertime SAD?

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Like any mental health issue, the summertime blues can have discrete causes from person to person. However, beneath these variables, there are usually similar environmental and physiological factors, for example: 

Summer Allergies

If seasonal allergies are a part of your life, the summer months have their share of triggers, e.g. high rates of pollen. The worsening of allergy symptoms like inflammation has been linked to depression.

Your Body is Not in Tune With the Heat

All weather extremes can be disturbing but some of us respond more severely to higher temperatures. It’s a genetic predisposition that can turn even a short walk to run errands into an awful experience. 

Societal Pressure 

Many people — especially on social media — talk about the summer months before the season arrives. This slow-building peer pressure makes you feel self-conscious about preferring the cooler months. Too much talk about beach bodies, sun worship, and travel plans can send you into a funk. 

Internal Clock

Summer days are longer and with the aforementioned peer pressure, your daily routines may get highjacked. You might get to bed later or spend more time outside. Work and school schedules can change. For those who aren’t fans of summer, this is a recipe for mood swings. 

Keep in Mind

Summertime SAD is typically more common in

  • Women

  • Young adults 

  • People who live slower to the equator

  • Individuals already dealing with a mood disorder 

Self-Help Steps For the Summertime Blues

Maintain a Self-Care Routine 

You’ll want to focus on some basics, of course. This means keeping regular sleep patterns, making healthy eating and drinking choices (stay hydrated!), exercising at a time of day that feels best, and practicing stress management. Take active steps to keep your body cool and get comfortable with declining summer invitations when you need some cool time for yourself. Set boundaries but do not let yourself slip into long stretches of self-isolation. 

Take Tech Breaks

As discussed above, peer pressure and the fear of missing out (FOMO) can exacerbate summertime SAD. Give your mind a break by powering down your devices and using that time to engage in relaxation techniques. 

Keep a Journal

Monitoring your moods helps avoid triggers. Also, that journal can be where you keep track of what you’re grateful for. While we’re on this general vibe, lean more on your particular spiritual faith in the summer and seek out ways to help others.

Don’t Minimize What You’re Feeling

Any type of SAD is a diagnosable disorder. If the summertime blues have you feeling stuck, talk to an experienced professional and book a session of depression treatment with us soon.

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