Many of us look forward to the summer: the warmer weather, the vacations, the longer days, the extra sunlight.
But for some, the summer months are not a relief from the seemingly endless winter months. For some, summertime brings on depression. Sometimes, summer depression has a biological cause, like a chemical imbalance, while other times, the particular stresses of summer can pile up and bring on feelings of sadness and depression.
It can be even more frustrating to feel like you are supposed to be happy and enjoying life because it’s the summer and instead, you are bogged down by depression.
Many are familiar with “seasonal affective disorder,” or SAD. SAD typically causes depression as the days get shorter and colder. What is less known is that people with SAD can actually get it in the reverse — the onset of summer triggers depression symptoms.
Specific symptoms of summer depression often include: loss of appetite, trouble sleeping, weight loss, and feelings of agitation or anxiety. Summertime depression can also create an increased feeling of isolation.
Here are some things that may cause an increase in summertime depression:
- Disrupted schedules in summer. Our schedules can get shifted during the summer time months and often times, that disruption can offset depression especially with people who need a reliable routine to keep balanced.
- Body image issues. Feeling unhappy and self-conscious about one’s looks in summer clothing can also increase depression.
- Financial worries. Summers can be expensive. With vacation, meeting up with friends for a night out, dinners out, etc. spending can increase and thus, results in increased worry and depression.
- The heat. It’s not enjoyable for everyone. It can be very oppressive physically and mentally.
So what do you do if you think you are suffering from summertime depression?
- Get help. If you think you’re getting depressed, no matter what time of year, get help. See a psychologist, talk to your PCP, share with family and friends about how you are feeling.
- Keep up with your exercise. Regular physical activity can help keep the risk and/or symptoms of depression down. But be careful not to overdo dieting and fitness.
- Protect yourself. Don’t overextend yourself. Don’t feel obligated to do anything and everything. Take time for yourself.
- Talk to your doctor about medication and/or adjusting current medications.