Even though summer is supposed to be a fun and relaxing time, it’s the exact opposite for people with summer depression. And while there are several different reasons why people get summer depression, it’s definitely a real experience for some people. So, it’s best not to ignore it and brush it aside. Instead, try these five simple tips to cope with feelings of depression during the sunny season.
Why do people get summer depression?
Feeling depressed in the winter? That sounds reasonable. But in the summer? It can seem so strange, but that doesn’t make summer depression any less real.
The director of the Depression Research Program at UCLA, Ian Cook, MD, has identified the following causes for summer depression:
- Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
- Disrupted schedules (Think: school breaks, summer vacation, travel, etc.)
- Body image issues (Say hello to swimsuit season)
- Financial stress (Summer vacations and outings can be expensive)
- High temperatures
Sure, we might yearn for the summer, but since it does introduce lots of different factors into our lives, it can lead to feelings of depression for some individuals.
If you can relate to this, don’t worry: there’s nothing wrong with you, and there’s nothing to be ashamed of. Instead, acknowledge your summer depression and try the following tips:
- Create a schedule/routine and follow it.
- Plan ahead so you have something to look forward to.
- Get enough sleep. You might be tempted to stay up later since the days are longer during the summer, but that can interrupt your sleep and up your stress levels.
- Get moving! Exercise is a natural way to increase endorphins – the hormone that helps you feel energized and happy. If the heat puts a damper on your fitness routine, try doing it first thing in the morning before the temperature makes exercise unbearable. Also consider doing summer-based activities to stay fit, like biking, hiking, swimming, kayaking, etc.
- Ask for help. You might feel guilty for feeling depressed when everyone else is having fun at their barbecues. But your experience is real and legitimate. So, if you think professional help can support you, don’t be afraid to get this help.