As the days grow longer and the temperatures rise, many people look forward to the warmth of the summer months. Mainly individuals get excited about the warmer weather, thoughts about vacation and going to the beach, and being able to spend time outside with loved ones. However, for those battling depression, the summer season can present challenges. Contrary to popular belief, depression does not always disappear during the warmer months. In fact, it can intensify or manifest in unexpected ways.
For those who experience symptoms of depression during the summer, here are some methods of coping:
- Understanding Summer Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): Most people associate Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) to gloomier months such as during Fall or Winter but, a lesser-known form of the disorder called Summer SAD can affect individuals during the brighter, warmer months. Symptoms of summer SAD may include increased irritability, anxiety, insomnia, decreased appetite, and a general sense of restlessness. Understanding that depression can manifest differently in summer is the first step towards seeking appropriate help and support.
- Social Expectations: Summer typically opens the door to several social events and gatherings. However, for those experiencing depression, there might be pressure to participate and mask their struggles which can be overwhelming. It is essential to remember that prioritizing mental health and setting boundaries is valid.
- Coping with Seasonal Triggers: The summer season can present several triggers which may include body image concerns, pressure to have a “beach body”, feelings of loneliness due to friends being away on vacation, or financial stress associated with travel expenses. Identifying your specific triggers will allow one to identify appropriate coping. Consider practicing affirmations, challenging negative thoughts, and engaging in activities that bring you joy.
- Embracing Nature: While spending time outdoors can be challenging for those struggling with depression, research suggests that exposure to nature can have a positive impact on mental health. Incorporating nature into your routine such as going for walks in shaded areas, gardening, or practicing mindfulness in nature, can help uplift your mood and provide a sense of calmness and grounding.
- Professional Support: If you or a loved one are experiencing depression during the summer or any time of the year, it is crucial to reach out for professional help. Mental health providers can offer guidance, support, and evidence-based treatments. Therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or medication management can significantly assist in managing depressive symptoms and enhancing overall well-being.
- Interpersonal support: While it is important to seek professional support when experiencing depressive symptoms, it is equally important to seek interpersonal support through loved ones. If you are having trouble getting out of the house and are missing your loved ones, invite them over for a movie marathon. It may also be helpful to share about your struggles with a loved one, if you are comfortable doing so, so that they can provide emotional support. Sometimes just talking about how you are feeling may help and be validating.
Depression does not take a vacation, and it is important to acknowledge the challenges it can present during the summer months. Understanding the nature of summer depression, setting boundaries, identifying triggers, embracing nature, and seeking professional support, will be helpful in navigating this season. It is important to prioritize your mental health always, and summer is no exception. If you or someone you know have questions about medications and wish to schedule an appointment with our provider, please contact Eastside TMS and Wellness Center at 425-919-6826.
Eastside TMS and Wellness Center does offer an alternative to medications; we also treat patients using TMS therapy. If you would like to know more information about TMS therapy, contact us using the phone number above.