Summertime is fun, happy and filled with bliss, right? Well, hold onto your beach ball as not everyone is enjoying life. We heard of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a disorder that impacts millions of people in America and is a type of depression that is related to the changing of seasons. It causes depression, anxiety, fatigue and weight loss.The summer is the opposite of this with some people. But with the longer days and warmth, it is perplexing that people would be depressed. This doesn't make much sense. However, not everyone gets to enjoy a relaxing summer. The kids are out of school, the heat is unbearable and life seems to become busier for some folks. For people more prone to depression, it's safe to say that summer is not a great time for everyone as it may trigger depressive symptoms. “Both summer SAD and winter SAD people can experience the full range of symptoms of major depressive disorder—depressed mood, hopelessness and feelings of worthlessness and nihilism,” director of the UCLA Depression Research & Clinic Program Ian Cook, explained to Smithsonianmag.com. Researchers are still grappling with the reasons summer depression happens. Since winter depression receives the lion share of attention, they are unraveling the mystery. Here is what we know about people with summer depression.
They have a disruption in schedules.When people are nervous anyway about change, the summer can really throw them for a loop. Any disruption in our lives can be stressful. The kids are home more and need to be entertained or sent to summer camp. Older kids are around more and want more resources like money or college kids are home and start taking over your house. Plus, the stress of fitting in a vacation just adds to the pressure. All of this disrupts sleep patterns, eating patterns, causes chaos in people's lives and just contributes to more depression.
They have body issues.Feeling embarrassed in your bathing suit or your summer dress may cause added stress and depression. When we become stressed out, our bodies release cortisol, which makes the adrenal system go into high gear. This causes the body to gain weight and store fat. Not only this, but people feel cumbersome shedding more clothes. "Since so many summertime gatherings revolve around beaches and pools, some people start avoiding social situations out of embarrassment," Cook said.
They spend a fortune of activities for their kids.Working parents can't afford a lot of summer learning programs when schools take an 11-week break. The New York Times shared that parents reported spending an average of $958 per child during summer break. Most parents can't afford this in addition to day care. The expenses can add to a feeling of summer depression for many. Julie Kashen is the Policy Director for the advocacy group "Make it Work" and explained to the paper: “Summer is the moment that really epitomizes the child care crisis. Our system doesn’t take into account that most parents are working. Summer is when it really hits home.”
They panic to lose weight.If you are in a panic because the summer is around the bend, don't stop eating to kick-start your diet. This will only feed into your depression and your body will rebel. "When your body senses that food may not be in plentiful supply, it may slow down your metabolism as protection against the possibility of starvation," Everyday Health reported. Instead, start exercising and eating lighter. Eating fewer calories is also a better way to go. See your doctor to help start a low-calorie regimen if you need help. Track what you are eating and record calories. This will help you more than starving yourself to fit into last season's bathing suit. When we crash diet, we set ourselves up for failure.
They don't plan ahead.You absolutely need a schedule to remain calmer. Before the changes start, make a schedule and play around with it. This will give you a sense of control over the flow of your weeks. Also, start to get rid of clutter by grouping items like spring clothes and start to create space for your summer clothes and items. Shred old bills and other paper items that are collecting dust. If you start this early, you won't feel overwhelmed by a cluttered schedule and a cluttered house.
They never resolved conflicts.
There is a reason that you are dealing with depression, beyond the chemical reasons. Maybe you associate the time of year with a breakup, heartbreak or another troubling event. Ask yourself if the pain of regret or disappointment is feeding your future. You are the one who decides whether you are happy or not. Don't give away your power to anything or anyone by being stuck in the past. Seek out the advice of a therapist to see if there are old wounds that need to be healed. Finding the reason behind your angst could end a lot of your problems. In the end, it might not be as bad as you thought it was. By getting to the root of the depression, you could see a transformation in your life.
Most of us don't associate depression with summer but don't be fooled. Anytime there is a disruption in schedules, projects, relationships and to our confidence, depression could surface. Depression needs to be dealt with at any level. Reach out to a trusted friend or loved one for help today. Summer doesn't need to be a nuisance. If you know that there are vulnerabilities, plan ahead and structure your activities accordingly.