Summer dreams ripped at the seams

Feeling a bit sad and down during the winter is a well-known thing. But feeling sad during summertime isn’t. Winter depression is pretty much accepted by society, summer depression isn’t. Summer depression, or sunshine depression, is a seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Usually people get a winter depression because the days get shorter and colder. About 10% of the people get it in reverse: summer triggers their depression symptoms. Some studies have found that in countries near the equator, like India, summer SAD is more common than winter SAD.

What causes summer SAD?

  • No routine. During the summer, routine goes out the window, which can cause stress. Also, vacations can disrupt your work, sleep and eating habits.
  • Body image issues. A lot of people feel terribly self-conscious about their bodies during summertime, because of the skin revealing clothing. Some people start avoiding social situations, like going to the pool, out of embarrassment.
  • The heat. Most people like it when it’s hot. They go sunbathing or enjoy other outdoor activities. For those who are not a big fan of the heat, summer can cause hiding out in your air-conditioned house, not having the energy to cook or to move.

How to deal with it?

  • Get yourself a schedule. Make sure you have everything fixed before summer starts. Figure out when you have to work, if you need someone to babysit your children, when you go on vacation or have some other activities etcetera.
  • Socialize. Consider going to that pool party anyway. Find a nice place in the shadow, bring a book or just have a conversation with someone else at the party. If you get hot, you can always jump into the pool. If you really don’t want to leave your house, try calling someone to talk to or invite someone over so you at least stay in touch with the outside world.
  • Sleep. Try to sleep at least 7 hours every night, but no more than 9 hours. Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day. It will make you feel better. Try not to stay in bed for hours, it will increase your depression.
  • Move. Get some exercise. Running during the heat isn’t fun (for most people at least). So schedule your exercise program around the hottest hours of the day. Maybe you can run in the early morning or later in the evening, when it’s not so warm anymore. Or just go for a nice, refreshing swim. If you really can’t stand the summer heat anymore, you can always visit Snowworld.
  • Refresh yourself. Take a cold shower, sit in the shadow instead of in the sun, put your feet in a tub of water, get yourself an airco, make sure you park your car in the shadow so you won’t get overwhelmed by the heat when you get in. Put some ice in the fridge, make a nice, fresh salad, have a water fight. If you like to wear socks during summertime, take them off and put some clean once on. You will feel more refreshed right away.
  • Remember. Try to remember some of the nice memories you might have of previous summers. Maybe you had a wonderful summer at camp some year, or you remember running over the wet grass while the sprinklers are on. Maybe you went on a beautiful trip you have amazing memories of. Try to remember the good times, when summer wasn’t burning your spirit.

People don’t notice whether it’s winter or summer when they’re happy.

– Anton Chekhov

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