Six Simple Ways of Beating Summer Depression
by Ethel Huizar
How can “summer” and “depression” even share the same sentence? Doesn’t this completely shake up the laws of the universe? Summer is the season that’s most often associated with relaxation, with sunny days, and the opportunity to take a break from the stress that’s typically weighing you down, especially if you’re a student on summer break. Swimsuits, going to the beach, ice-cream, cool drinks, staying outside until late because the days are longer – these are all the things that usually first come to head.
But every forest has its rotten trunks and summer isn’t exactly welcoming to everybody. How many people do we reckon struggle to not be a grumpy, frustrated mess throughout the whole season just because the heat is too much? How many people are stick stuck with their regular work routine regardless and have to skim through piles of papers while everyone else is sunbathing and sipping at a Piña Colada?
We don’t know if any of these causes have triggered similar episodes in your case, but you probably know what this is all about.
The Seasonal Affective Disorder
We can blame these gloomy feelings on what’s simply known as S.A.D. In its traditional definition, S.A.D. is associated with a rise in depression levels near the installment of cold seasons. The phenomenon affects about 7% of the population of the USA on average, but there’s a number even bigger that’s really starting to feel their blood (quite literally) blow because of an opposing reason – the nearing of warm seasons.
How do you know if you’ve happened to be infected with the Summer S.A.D. Disease? Look out for these symptoms:
- Trouble sleeping (insomnia)
- Weight loss
- Poor appetite
- Agitation or anxiety
If you can relate, then summer has really left an unpleasant mark on your psychic. Stop for a moment to find out more about depression causes and treatments too.
How Do I Combat It?
Summertime depression probably has the most distinct causes out of them all, given that it’s a season full of particularities. This means that, essentially, you need to work out towards eliminating and solving some of these particularities, which create discrepancies from your reality and knock you out of your safe zone. In other words, summer is the season of TV reruns, of school breaks, and of extreme heat, all of which are things we don’t exactly find anywhere else.
#1 Be On Schedule
One of the reasons why people start feeling all gloomy during summer is because they get disconnected from reality. Especially vulnerable are those who are on a break. Why?
Sure, you no longer have to worry about homework and exams, but it’s not like you’re headed for a tropical paradise either. You’re stuck at home with no schedule, no things to keep you alert and connected, and time simply starts slipping out of your fingers. Something as simple as marking the days on your calendar and establishing mundane activities for every day is going to do wonders to keep your head in the game.
#2 Avoid Isolation
Loneliness and isolation are some of the key factors in triggering depression in general. During summertime, we’re more vulnerable to this mindset than ever. We aren’t required to leave the house to go to school or work (in some instances), which is a dangerous green lit for wasting the days away alone with little to no human interaction. No one is saying to hit a crowded pool, but simply to phone some people or even have some friends over.
#3 Stay Hydrated
Not just for the sake of your body, but for your mind as well. Dehydration is a perilous enemy since it sneaks up on you and, by the time you know it, it’s already started kicking in. Not properly drinking enough liquids can affect your mood in lack of serotonin properly traveling to the brain. For healthy minds and bodies, always make sure to drink the minimum necessary of water.
#4 Sleep Healthily
Having a proper night’s sleep isn’t as easy as it sounds, especially when you know that we can’t exactly dictate when we’ll be feeling sleepy. But regardless, we need to try. Being out of school doesn’t automatically equate an erratic sleeping schedule, which will end up doing more harm than good.
Obviously, you can sleep in later than your initial wake-up hour, but make sure not to oversleep either. Somewhere between 7 hours and 9 hours a night lies the right answer.
#5 Feel Like Summer
We did say that summer is associated with relaxation. In many cases, this is also the reason why some people are depressed to begin with – not being able to do it. As long as you can help it, don’t fall into that trap. Plan a vacation during the summer if you’re working. And if you’re not, make sure not to fall victim to routine, everyone’s worst enemy. Indulge in every fun activity and hobby that you have.
#6 Stay Cool
Last but not least, heat is a huge factor too. It may not lead to the kind of gloomy depression we all know, but it can definitely make us constantly irritated, angry, and trap us in a bad mood. When indoors, stay cool with an air conditioner or a fan. Speaking of fans, if you really can’t help it, bring one with you and don’t shy away from using it. There are some buses or public transport means that are simply ovens crammed full with people. The people won’t go away, but some of the heat will.
Summer depression does exist, but there are ways to combat it. The goal is to never focus on it and instead try to veer your attention to the several ways you can fix it.
(Ethel Huizar is a full-time writer and University of Colorado graduate. Having achieved a Master’s degree in Public Health, she aims to help people lead healthy and well-balanced lives. Ethel is motivated by the desire to educate her readers on the number of ways that nature and science can help them achieve the best state of health.)