Not everyone is happy when summer comes around. Some of us dread the warmer months and can’t wait for the cold, dark, wintry weather to return.
This is known as SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder. Most think this illness only affects people during gloomier weather but it occurs all year round. But why do some of us feel blue when the sun is out and shining?
Changes in routine can cause low mood and depression, so the new and exciting adventures that summer brings may actually feel daunting and scary to some.
We can also forget how expensive summer can be. Financial worries can be a big issue at this time of year when holidays, trips out with friends, new clothes and festivals drain the bank balance. These types of additional pressures can really affect our behaviour and outlook on life.
Perhaps the most obvious cause of SAD is the discomfort that the heat brings and, as we wear less clothing to compensate, we may become more aware of our body hang-ups.
This affects a surprising number of people: 4-6% of people have severe SAD and 10-20% get a milder form of it. So what should you do if you think you get summertime SADness?
- Plan ahead – think about what you find difficult about summer and try to work on why that acts as a trigger for you.
- Sleep more – irritability and low mood can stem from lack of energy, so try to have a regular nighttime routine and do as much as possible to stay cool at night.
- As well as sleep it’s best to exercise regularly. It’s been clinically proven that gentle exercise can help with depression, so try swimming or a nice cool walk in the woods if it gets too warm.
- Don’t put pressure on yourself to get a ‘bikini body’ by a certain date. Keep in mind that being thin can’t make you happy or change your life, but being healthy does. If you ever find yourself fixating on your flaws, watch this beautiful, inspiring talk by Lizzie Velasque:
- Don’t let friends force you into activities you don’t feel up for. Pace yourself and control you FOMO!
- If you are really struggling then don’t hesitate in askinf your doctor for professional help. They’ll probably suggest counselling in the form of CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) in which they will teach you how to cope with stressful summer situations. Click here to find out more.