Why do some people feel more depressed in summer? After all, it is summer, we are meant to be enjoying the sun and having a good time – aren’t we?
People are having fun, relaxing, going to the beach, swimming, playing beach games – it’s great – isn’t it? Not if you suffer from summer depression or anxiety!
But why might you be suffering from summer depression? Here are some reasons:
S.A.D. – You might be suffering from SAD or MDD which is Seasonal Affective Disorder with a seasonal pattern.
We associate SAD with the dark, gloomy winter nights when people are often indoors and not getting enough sunlight.
This causes a drop in serotonin levels which in turn negatively affects mood. In winter, people with SAD have feelings of sadness and lethargy.
MDD works in a similar way in summer, caused by too much brightness, especially with the longer light nights, which can cause insomnia, anxiousness, and feelings of agitation.
Financial concerns – Summer can be expensive. Extra costs if you have children or grandchildren to entertain. Especially challenging this year as costs have rocketed after Covid, BREXIT and the general increased living costs around the world.
With a day out, even to the beach, you are going to be spending more than you normally would and those financial pressures can lead to depression and anxiety.
Body Image concerns – As temperatures soar, we show off more of our bodies than we do in winter. You might feel self-conscious in shorts or a swimsuit or even showing off your arms.
Feelings of embarrassment or awkwardness can create anxieties. It’s not helped when magazines show super skinny celebrities in skimpy outfits indicating that to be glamorous you need to be skinny.
Heat – We crave the sun and heat in the winter, but when the summer comes it can get unbearably hot and humid in some areas. We get sticky and grumpy and may avoid open spaces that don’t have air con.
We may not want to cook and rely on take away meals as it’s too hot to be sweating over a hot stove. All these things can contribute to feelings of depression.
These are just a few of many reasons why you might have summer depression, but you are not alone. As Eddie Cochrane wrote and sang back in the 50’s – “there ain’t no cure for the summertime blues”.
But fear not – here are some tips to get you through
- Don’t feel that you’re supposed to be happy just because it’s summer.
- Don’t kick off the summer with crazy dieting and exercise to fit into last year’s summer clothes. Instead, exercise sensibly and eat healthy foods that make you feel good.
- Sleep! Holidays, summer barbecues, warm nights – they can all encourage you to stay up later than usual.
- However, not enough sleep can trigger depression. So, get to bed on time.
- Do you associate summer with a difficult time in the past – the death of a loved one or the break-up of a relationship? Without even realizing it, you may have started to associate the summer with sadness or loss. Talk to someone, a friend, or a therapist, to help you break the cycle.
- Cut yourself some slack. Allow yourself some down time. You don’t need to be busy all the time. It’s ok to stop, read a book and enjoy the freedom to do what you want.
- Stop negative self-talk. While you still may not like what you see in the mirror, and we can all be self-critical, find and focus on the things you like about your looks.
- Peace of mind doesn’t need peace and quiet. Find your happy place in your heart and in your mind. You could be in a bustling market, walking along a beach or anywhere. Once you are happy within you, that inner peace will go with you, wherever you go.
Find your happy place and ENJOY the summer!