How to Deal with Summertime Seasonal Affective Disorder
For many of us, Summer represents the time of year when we feel happier and freer!
But for some, Seasonal Affective Disorder can interfere with that happiness. While we might think of SAD as a condition brought on by the dark winter months, people can struggle with SAD in the Summer. This happens because of warm-weather factors like changes in our circadian rhythms or fluctuations in melatonin production.
And unlike the more common winter-based SAD where we may struggle with low energy, increased irritability, and food cravings, Summer SAD can present a different set of symptoms like avoidance of social situations, loss of appetite, and trouble sleeping.
SAD can be made a lot worse thanks to the summertime worries many people have around body image, unpredictable schedules, the heat and humidity, and the financial costs that come with social activities.
But by finding the support you need, there are many ways to cope with Summer SAD.
Exercise Is Your Friend
In the hot summer months, there are plenty of non-strenuous ways to continue exercising, which can help reduce your SAD symptoms. Try joining a new gym, taking a fun boxing class, or swimming outdoors.
Make ‘Me Time’ a Priority
Summer’s a busy time full of picnics, parties, and more! But if you’re struggling with SAD, these social activities may start to feel overwhelming. If you’re feeling this way, try some much-needed Me Time instead. Whether it’s once a week, or just whenever you need a break, taking some time for you is so important for your long-term mental health.
Keep that Sleep Structured
Summer days are long, which may disrupt your sleep pattern. To ensure your snooze-time isn’t affected, hang light-blocking black curtains, avoiding overstimulation before sleep (like your phone!), and keep your bedroom temperature cool and comfy.
Be Aware of Your Time on Social Media
Social media is a useful tool for connecting, story-telling, and sharing. But when we’re not mindful, it can be harmful to our mental health. When you see an image on your feed, does it conjure feelings of jealousy or inadequacy? If you find that you’re regularly comparing your life to images that may be staged and unrealistic, it may be time to limit your social media usage.
Seek Out Professional Support
Everyone can have an off-day – even when the summer sun is shining. But if your symptoms persist and interfere with your quality of life, it’s time to work with a registered mental health professional to explore improve your mental well-being. You can investigate the benefits of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), a clinically-proven, evidence-based approach, that helps us understand and manage the relationship between our thoughts, feelings and behaviour.
Experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder in the summer can be difficult and frustrating, especially when the expectations to socialize and soak up the sun are constant. With some self care and support, you can help reduce your symptoms, and find a healthy balance between making the most of the summer months and taking care of yourself.
Well.ca now offers preferred pricing for MindBeacon digital therapy, which provides CBT guided by a registered mental health professional. Because it’s digital, it’s there for you anytime, anywhere you want it. And it’s covered by most group health benefits plans. To learn more, check out MindBeacon at Well.ca services today.
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