Most people have heard of SAD (seasonal affective disorder), which usually causes increased depression as the days get shorter and colder. But some people who experience SAD have worse symptoms in the summer months. If you find that your mood dips as the weather climbs, realize that you’re not alone. Many people have depression that increases in the summertime. If this is you, here are a few of the reasons you might be having a hard time, and ideas for how to cope.
Lack of Routine
Schedules tend to go out the window in the summer. It’s a time to relax and have fun, right? But lack of routine can sometimes be more disruptive than relaxing. Try to go to bed and get up at a consistent time so you get enough sleep and have some structure to the day.
Body Image Issues
If you don’t feel comfortable in your own skin, wearing shorts or swimming suits can feel embarrassing or lead to critical self-talk. While keeping up with exercise and healthy eating is a good idea year-round, it’s easy to overdo it in the summer. Set reasonable goals and boundaries for yourself, and practice positive self-talk and gratitude for all your body allows you to do.
Vacations, day trips, summer camps…expenses can add up. As summertime gets underway, it can be helpful to look at your finances and budget accordingly. As you plan expenditures like vacations or summer camps, ask yourself if this is something you want and something you feel will relieve your stress. If you’re doing it out of obligation or feel burdened by it, you might want to consider alternatives.
Some people love the heat, but for others, it can be oppressive, sapping your energy and decreasing motivation. Do your best to keep cool, but go easy on yourself if you decide to order takeout instead of heating up the kitchen by cooking a meal.
Summer depression is real, and while there are things you can do to help yourself feel better, don’t be afraid to reach out for help if you need it. Just because you know things will improve come September doesn’t mean you should have to struggle through the entire summer. Talk to your doctor about short-term medication adjustments to get you through the season, or schedule a few sessions with a therapist for added support if you think you’re experiencing summer depression.