Summer is typically a time of year most thought to be spent with your friends, relaxing outdoors, and enjoying the warm days. But for some who struggle with summer depression, activities during the summer months may not be as enticing or enjoyable.
Symptoms of Summer Depression
Summer depression, or summer onset seasonal affective disorder (summer SAD) is in fact a real form of depression. It is linked to the aeasonal affective disorder that is experienced during the winter months with limited sunlight and colder temperatures and typically affects roughly 10% of the US Population. Unlike the typical SAD, summer depression manifests in the reverse time of year. It is not clear what causes summer SAD, but experts believe the longer days and increasing heat and humidity may bring on symptoms such as loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping, and anxiety. For those living with this form of depression, the summer months may be a little more enjoyable with these tips.
Stick to a Schedule
A common occurrence of summer is an ever-changing schedule. Between vacations and family visits, it can be difficult to maintain a routine. The lack of routine can be stressful for those with summer SAD, so planning out days with consistency can help mitigate symptoms.
Along with changing summer hours, a disruption in sleep patterns can increase stress and anxiety. Staying out late or making plans that disrupt sleep can be harmful, so be sure to get the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep per night in the summer months.
Summer may be the time to visit your friends most often, but for those with summer SAD, too many get-togethers or reunions may not be the best for their health. If there have been a lot of changes at home, this, too, may impact the ability to fully enjoy time with others. On the other hand, school-aged children may find that their social interactions are more limited once school is out, which may be detrimental to their mental health if they have summer SAD. It is important to find a healthy social balance that is best for the individual person.
Limit Sun Exposure
For some, their SAD may be triggered more by the heat and the sun. While others enjoy their time in the sunshine, some with summer SAD don’t find the same happiness out in the heat. Limiting time outside during particularly humid and warm days can help reduce stress and nausea.