5 signs you have the “summer blues”
SAD, known as seasonal affective disorder, is often associated with winter months and affects roughly 5 percent of the population. It occurs when there is a change in seasons and typically results in depression.
However, those 1 out of 10 people who experience SAD in the summer are often forgotten, because who could be sad in the summer, right?
Nonetheless, those who are experiencing SAD in the summer know that it can be difficult to cope. Many who suffer feel they’re supposed to be having fun, but their symptoms prevent them from doing so, leading to isolation.
Maybe you’re one of these people. Maybe you know someone who seems to be in a particularly foul mood this summer. While everyone is at the beach, taking walks outside and having backyard barbeques, you’re sitting there thinking, when will summer just end already?
But are you feeling “SAD,” or just sad?
Dr. Rian Rowles, a psychiatrist at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, lll., shares five signs you might be suffering from seasonal affective disorder this summer and tips on how to work around the blues.
- You feel like the sun is draining your energy
While the sun may not literally be draining your energy, it can decrease melatonin production in your body. Melatonin is a hormone that plays a vital role in mood regulation, so any increase or decrease can be a direct result of why you might be depressed. To help keep your melatonin production from pit falling, try to keep the sun at bay. Wear sunglasses, carry an umbrella, keep the shades drawn and spend your time outside when it’s overcast.
- You’re having trouble sleeping
Remember our friend melatonin? Well, while those who experience SAD may have less energy during the day, at night, they’ll experience a surge due to the sluggishness of their morning and afternoon. The best thing to do in this situation is to give yourself time to wind down. Turn the lights off and establish a routine such reading or meditating, which will signal to your brain that it’s time for bed.
- You’re constantly cranky or upset about something
The cause of your crankiness is most likely a result of the summer atmosphere. One of the most noticeable changes in summer is the heat and increased humidity. Do your best to stay cool as often as possible. Keep to air-conditioned places, carry a portable fan, have a cold drink in your hand or take cold showers often.
- You’re anxious
There are many factors that could be contributing to your anxiety. Crowds of sweaty bodies, kids everywhere, endless summer parties, etc. To limit your anxiety, plan around the things you know will make you anxious. Choose social events that will have smaller crowds or that will take place at night. Get to the party later rather than earlier. You can’t eliminate everything in your summer, but plan accordingly to reduce the time you may have to spend in agitating situations.
- Loss of appetite
Consistently feeling stressed or anxious about summer can cause your hormones to get out of whack and may decrease your sense of hunger. Nevertheless, just because you’re not hungry doesn’t mean your body doesn’t need nutrients. Schedule times to eat during the day and stick to them. It may help to add reminders to your phone calendar or to set up a routine where you’ll plan to eat meals at a certain time each day.
About the Author
Jamie Bonnema, health enews contributor, is a specialist of public affairs and marketing at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn. She earned her BA in communications from DePaul University in Chicago. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, going to concerts, and cheering on the Chicago Cubs.