Are You Suffering From SADness This Season?
Does the bright sunlight feel like it’s cutting through you like a knife? Is the scorching summer making you sick? Seasonal Affective Disorder (also called SAD) might be to blame. The mood disorder, which affects 10 to 20 percent of people, can occur during any seasonal change, but it’s most common in the winter months.
Summer is the time when the fun begins! Outdoor gatherings and vacation plans all seem so nostalgic. Yet, not all people have this feeling. Different people experience the world in different ways. Contrary to what most people assume, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) isn’t limited to grey skies and dark weather. While winter SAD is linked to a lack of sunlight, it is thought that summer SAD is due to the reverse—possibly too much sunlight. Although summer-onset SAD is fairly uncommon; it’s a real disorder that affects many people around the world and just like winter-onset SAD, reverse seasonal affective disorder returns every year at about the same time.
Not A Sunny Person?
The skies are bright and blue; the sunny days are more engaging and buzzing. The gloom of winter is out of the way and the lure of summer vacations lie ahead. Yet not everyone is beaming. The thought of long days and soaring temperatures is a recipe for mood swings and depression for many.
We usually associate summertime with outdoor activities, spending time in the pool, having fun with friends etc. However, there’s a select few of us for whom the long, lazy days of summer hold frustration and agitation instead of freedom and joy.
Understanding Summer SADness
Some studies have shown that in countries near the equator, such as India, summer SAD is more common than winter SAD. Why do seasonal changes cause depression? Experts aren’t sure, but the longer days and increasing heat and humidity may play a role. Specific symptoms of summer depression often include loss of appetite, trouble sleeping, weight loss, and anxiety.
Disrupted Schedules In Summer:
If you’ve had depression before, you probably know that having a reliable routine is often key to staving off symptoms. But during the summer, routine goes out the window and that disruption can be stressful. Vacations can disrupt your work, sleep, and eating habits – all of which can all contribute to summer depression.
Body Image Issues:
As the temperature climbs and the layers of clothing fall away, a lot of people feel terribly self-conscious about their bodies. Feeling embarrassed in shorts or a bathing suit can make life awkward, not to mention hot. Since so many summertime gatherings revolve around beaches and pools, some people start avoiding social situations out of embarrassment.
Lots of people relish the sweltering heat. They love baking on a beach all day. But for the people who don’t, summer heat can become truly oppressive. You may start spending every weekend hiding out in your air-conditioned bedroom, watching Pay-Per-View until your eyes ache. You may begin to skip your usual before-dinner walks because of the humidity. You may rely on unhealthy takeout because it’s just too stifling to cook. Any of these things can contribute to summer depression.
So next time your friends decline an offer to go sunbathing or cavorting in the heat of July, consider that they might not actually be flaky, but suffering from what hipster diva Lana Del Rey calls “Summertime Sadness”.
Beating Summer Blues
The solution to this may lie in hitting cooler climes at least once in this season. It’s wise to go for a vacation on a higher altitude; mountains. In addition, to manage stress and depression, find out healthy coping strategies- spending time with your friends and family. Any sort of outdoor activity is highly recommended. Also, managing your weight is a proven method to improve your mood and create a mind and body balance while giving you a sense of personal achievement.