The mark of summer is upon us. The kids are out of school, it’s hot, and it’s the season in which everyone expects to feel good. Except you don’t.
Let’s take a look at some of the causes of summertime depression.
- Finances. If worrying about finances throughout the year wasn’t enough, summertime often adds more financial stress to our plates. Summer is the season for vacations, and if you are a working parent, you now need to shell out money for camp or babysitting for the little ones and activities for the older children.
- SAD. Seasonal Affective Disorder, typically thought of as a cold season depression, actually affects about 10 percent of people during the summer. If you notice that you feel depressed during the warmer seasons and that it typically lifts in the fall, you may have the symptoms of SAD.
- Disrupted schedules. Routines help prevent depression. So it seems clear that deterring from your normal routine can get you in a funk. Summer lends its hand to vacations and finding daily activities for your kids, both of which disrupt the ebb and flow of your daily routines from fall to spring. If that weren’t enough to pack on extra stress, the extra bodies in the house (i.e. the kids being home all day) bring about the stress of maintaining the house. Who said summer was the best season?
- Body image issues. We all know about this one. Summer does not lend itself to baggy sweaters and pants, unless where you live summer is cold. For those of us dealing with 90-degree heat, it means less clothing. Feeling self-conscious about your body can be a real bummer, but it can be exacerbated by bathing suits and the lack of layers of clothing. Barbecues and social events often happen at the beach, pool, or other venue in which water makes its appearance, and if you feel self-conscious, you may avoid these social interactions, leading you to feel depressed.
- The heat. Some of us delight at the notion of baking on a towel in the hot summer sun. But for those of us who don’t, you may find yourself constantly hiding in an air-conditioned space, missing out on the outdoor fun.
If you are one of the many who is suffering with symptoms of depression this summer, try the following tips to bust those summer blues.
- Make a summer routine for yourself and your family that mimics the normal routine you have for yourself the rest of the year.
- Find inexpensive ways to have fun or plan a small weekend getaway in lieu of an expensive week-long vacation if finances are an issue.
- Exercise. It is one of the best cures for depression.
- Make sure you are sleeping at least seven hours, but no more than nine hours a day. Too little or too much sleep can trigger depression.
- Socialize. Being around others can lift any negative mood.
- Reframe those negative thoughts. If you feel anxious about your self-image, for example, retrain your brain by reframing those negative thoughts into positive ones. It may feel inauthentic at first, but once those positive thoughts become habit, they will replace the negative ones.
- Figure out why you are feeling depressed. Being aware of your emotions often leads to answers about how to change them.
- Be mindful. Practice breathing exercises, meditate, do yoga, or anything else that can clear your head for the moment and help you relax.
- Remember to prioritize yourself. You are important and need to take care of yourself before you can lift depression.
- Talk to your doctor if you feel like your depression is overwhelming. Counseling is often a great solution to this problem. Don’t hesitate to call if your symptoms feel overwhelming.