Summer is here, which means all your depressive symptoms should be immediately lifted by the lovely, warm weather…right? If only! Since the sun is out, it’s easy to assume you will feel happier and want to be outside doing the things you love. However, it comes as a surprise to many people when that doesn’t automatically 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.
Ready for professional help to kick the summertime sadness? Or the wintertime sadness? Or the anytime-of-year sadness? Our team of counselors are some of the most trusted in Denver. Request a free phone consultation and let a member of our counseling team assess your needs and help you determine which of our therapists is best equipped to support your emotional needs.