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
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.