Summertime: the heat, the longer days, the vacations, the beach, the relaxation …. the depression. The expectation that you’re supposed to be having a great time – but you’re not – can create stress and overwhelm.
It’s Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) in the reverse, and the CDC estimates that 10% of the population exhibits signs of summer depression such as loss of appetite, trouble sleeping and avoiding social interactions.
Summer Stressors: Things that stress us in the winter differ from summer stressors. The oppressive heat almost requires certain clothing, however, being self-conscious about summer attire can cause embarrassment and keep us out of social circles. The heat can mess with our sleep patterns, too. Being too hot and sticky does not promote restful, rejuvenating sleep. Unlike in the winter when you can just add another blanket, in the summer there’s only so much you can take off and once you’re naked and still hot… sleep can be elusive.
The appetite is also affected by the summer heat. When the temperature outside the body soars, metabolism goes into overdrive, eking out every last drop of hydration and nutrient from the food we eat. The result is we get overheated faster … so we lose our appetite in a subconscious effort to cool down. We’re cool, but we’re also exhausted and depleted without the proper nutrition!
Negative Self Talk
Negative self-talk is easy to come by when we have shut ourselves out of social interactions and are exhausted. When everyone else seems to be having a great time and you aren’t, it’s easy to beat yourself up over it and ask “What’s wrong with me?” These types of thoughts, outside of positive social communication can quickly spiral out of control and become all consuming. Thoughts become beliefs, and when we allow those beliefs to define us, “what’s wrong with me?” can quickly become “there’s something wrong with me.”
Don’t Ignore Depression
This is why the symptoms of depression should never be taken lightly. Seeking help in the form of a medical or mental health professional can help alleviate the summer stressors. Reaching out to friends and family and making plans around a new activity can create a spark in interest and a gradual return to being social.
Remember Past Summer Pleasures And Repeat
Think back to what you enjoyed doing during summer vacation as a child; did you like to build sand castles? Run through the sprinkler? Eat ice cream? Go fishing after dark? Play putt-putt golf? Lie on your back and make cloud animals? Make silly faces in a photo booth with your friends? Try on that child-like freedom again and jumpstart your summertime fun. By shifting your thoughts, you can shift your whole outlook!
Reach Out Recovery Exclusive By: Elizabeth Viszt