Summer is fast approaching, which means all your depressive symptoms should immediately be lifted by the lovely, warmer weather…right? If only! As the sun comes out, it’s easy to assume you or a loved one will feel happier and want to be outside doing the things you love. However, it can come as a surprise when that doesn’t naturally happen.
Summertime depression is real, and there are ways to cope with it. For some, it may be that their Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) gets worse in the summertime, but for others it can be a condition known as summer Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). This is depression that occurs only in seasonal months, like spring and summer, but is absent in other months altogether. SAD is common during winter months, but can still occur just as easily in the summer.
Here are some ways to help you cope with the summertime blues:
Accept that summertime depression exists. If you notice that you only get depressed in the summer, use that as an indicator to figure out potential solutions during this time. By acknowledging it exists, you can try to not beat yourself up about it and find validation that it’s a real and legitimate mental health concern.
Let go of what you think summer “should” be like. Maybe you have associations with childhood summers of going to the beach, attending parties, swimming, etc. But first, ask yourself if you still enjoy all of the things you think summer “should” include, and then find ways to do the things you actually enjoy, with people who share those same interests.
Realize your own expectations. If you have certain expectations of doing specific summer activities, but don’t get around to them, accept that it happens and move on. Don’t let it linger too long or think too much about not meeting those expectations.
Stay cool. Literally. Studies show that high outdoor temperatures are correlated with depression and anxiety, with an increase in mental health emergencies happening as the mercury climbs. It could be due to heat stress, or the fact that hot temperatures makes it hard to sleep. Drink lots of water and do your best to stay cool.
Get out of the house. Maintaining relationships and having a social support system, whatever that looks like for you, is important to being happy. Increasing interaction and staying connected and in community, whether one-on-one with a close friend or stopping by a neighborhood BBQ for even 30 minutes, reduces isolation, loneliness and will help lift your mood.
Ask for professional help. Depression is hard to deal with alone, and sometimes you’ll need extra guidance from a professional to help you work through it. If you’re stuck in a cycle of feeling defeated and can’t seem to motivate yourself, it might be a good time to seek therapy or counseling.
If you think professional support would help you overcome your sadness, our team of therapists are some of the most trusted in Denver. Request a free phone consultation and a member of our counseling team will assess your needs and help determine if our practice and one of our therapists is equipped to support you through this season.