ABH Maryland

Interesting Ways Warm Weather Can Tank Mental Health


Interesting Ways Warm Weather Can Tank Mental Health

  • Mental Health

Summer is filled with vacations, free time, and warm weather. But it’s not all fun and games from June through August.

Time off can be great for everyone, but the added stress of keeping your kids all day, organizing vacation and camp schedules, and trying so hard to enjoy your summer to the fullest can lead to stress, irritability, and depression.

If you’re experiencing a wave of depression this summer, you’re not alone!

What Changes Can Warm Weather Have on My Mental Health?

Many people experience better mental health during the summer with less deadlines and more free time. In fact, simply enjoying a little sunbathing can increase your Vitamin D and subsequently your mood! It’s a great free mood booster for anyone struggling with depression.

However, summer doesn’t suddenly make everyone happier versions of themselves.

In fact, summer depression can be biological or circumstantial. When summer rolls around for just a few months every year, it seems like everyone is on a trip or at the pool while you’re watching the kids or working on a Wednesday. With the increasing use of social media, it’s hard to ignore your friends and family while they splash in the ocean. That mixed with the perfect brain chemistry can lead to seasonal affective disorder — but in the summer!

Does Seasonal Affective Disorder Happen in the Summer?

Seasonal Affective Disorder affects about 6% of the United States population annually — and mostly in the winter, when the sun is hiding and it’s mostly dark and cloudy.

However, about 10% of Americans say they suffer in reverse, and summer brings on their Seasonal Affective Disorder instead of relieving it. This is especially common in incredibly hot areas, like the Deep South, or heavy summer tourism spots that get overrun with out-of-towners.

Unlike generalized depression, Seasonal Affective Disorder usually begins and ends around the same time every year. Because of that, summer can be even more dreadful for some while they ramp up for a down swing they know comes annually.

For some, it’s not the heat — it’s the lack of a schedule. While school can be a stressor in itself, the predictability of your days make it easy to follow along during times of heightened stress. When you remove that daily schedule, some people struggle to cope with too much freedom of choice.

With summer in America comes less clothing and beach trips, which can trigger tons of self-esteem issues and lead to anxiety and depression spirals, too. From hiding your body in baggy or winter clothes to hiding in the bathroom in your new bikini, bathing suit season can be a struggle for tons of people suffering from body dysmorphia and low self esteem.

How to Cope with Summer Depression

man walking dog park sunset

Since Seasonal Affective Disorder and summer depression come and go every year, it makes it somewhat easier to plan for it. If you’re feeling mentally strong in the spring, start making your summer plans early, including vacation days, kids’ camps, and even your summer reading list.

With longer days usually comes less sleep. Add that to the plethora of summer activities, and you’re often going to bed later and waking earlier. With any mental health issues, sleep is key to staying on track long-term. If you’re staying out late tonight, that’s great! Be sure to go to spread out the activities if you can to lead to less irritability.

While your regular routine may be fading, be sure to keep up with your exercise! Even if you change it to outdoor walks or a good swim during the summer, keeping your body moving will help keep the mental health downswings at bay.

However, focusing too much on exercise and diet during the summer can be a detriment! Be sure to enjoy that hot dog, that slice of Fourth of July Pie, and that scoop of ice cream, too. Don’t let your depression or self-esteem talk you out of enjoying your few months of warm weather and relaxation.

The biggest step you can make toward coping with your mental health is to seek professional help when you need it.

Contact Us Today

When it comes to mental health, no one can fight an uphill battle alone. If you’re struggling with depression, anxiety, or any summer mood disorder, we’re here to help.

Contact us today to set up an appointment, and help stop the stigma of being “too strong” to need help.

When you think of the well-being of a child, you first think of basic needs: food, water, and shelter. Once these needs are met, however, it’s crucial for a child to have emotional and social wellness as well. In this article, we will explore the impact social wellness has on the overall health of a child and great ways for children to garner social support in their lives.

It comes as no surprise that as human beings, we all need connection with others, no matter what stage of life we are in. In fact, having social support is a social determinant of health (SDOH) that significantly impacts the health of an individual. After spending the last few years in and out of isolation due to the Covid-19 outbreak, social support is more important now than ever before. Having social support means having family members and friends you can talk to and seek advice from when life feels challenging and overwhelming. Knowing you’re not alone in your life journey, especially as a child, creates a sense of belonging and empowerment throughout one’s life.

4 Types of Social Support

Emotional Support. This type of support lets you know that people care about you and have empathy for your experiences. Emotional support often looks like people checking in on you to let you know they’re thinking of you, and that they are there if you need anything. As a parent, make sure your child knows you can be a sounding board for them. If you have family members who can also show up for your children in this way, even better!

Practical Help. This type of support is when people give you something tangible or offer a service to help you out. This could be in the form of money, making food when you are sick, or helping to pack when moving. Having family and friends show up in this way shows your child what it looks like to be present for people you love.

Sharing Points of View. This type of support can often come in the form of affirmations and encouragement. For example, pointing out your child’s strengths to them and reminding them they can do anything they put their mind to. It can also look like sharing another perspective if they are being hard on themselves. For example, if they are angry with themselves after receiving a bad grade on a test, you can help them see it as a learning experience and a way for them to grow.

Sharing Information. This type of support is when someone shares what they’ve learned from their own life experiences. For example, if another parent has a child who struggles with socializing, they can share some tips and tricks they’ve learned to help their child find and create social support.

The Importance of Social Groups and Extended Support

Children who are connected to their family, friends, and people in their community have opportunities to learn how to speak, share, and get along with others. When your child feels connected to people in your neighborhood, it often allows them to feel physically safe which can alleviate stress and worry. Simply riding bikes, going on walks, and saying hello to neighbors with your kids can create this sense of security for them.

In addition to engaging with your neighbors, getting involved in local organizations can also create social support for your child. Signing up for a sports team, musical theater, art class or summer camp are all great ways to help your child meet new friends and learn important social skills that can carry them through their lives.

Tips for Helping Kids Make Community Connections:

Spend time outside in your neighborhood playing on the playground, going to a local farmer’s market, or scheduling a playdate with neighborhood kids.

Show your kids that connection is a two-way street. If your neighbors or friends go out of town, offer to get their mail, or water their plants and take your child with you when you go. This will show your child how you show up for people you care about.

Make sure you make time for socializing with friends as well. Your child looks to you first and foremost for how they should act and live their own life.

Encourage your child to step out of their comfort zone and do something they may be scared to do. As a parent, it’s your job to push them into something social for their own well-being at times.