Most of us are familiar with SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) in winter - I wrote about my own experience with it here and spoke about it on HuffPost Live here ... but SAD can also happen in the sun filled long days of summer - most commonly referred to as reverse SAD, because it occurs during the summer months.
The pressure to "have fun" can be overwhelming - after all everyone else "seems" to be having such a great time. The symptoms of SAD are the same as those of depression, but occur during a specific time of year.
Some of the most common reasons summer can be a difficult time for some people:
Unstructured Days: Routine seems to go out the window when summer is in full swing. This can be overwhelming for those of us who rely on structure to keep us organized and productive. If you have children you now may find yourself having to fill their day with activities as well as your regular day-to-day stuff.
Unplanned/expected Expenses: With the hot temperatures we have been experiencing in Toronto - it's too easy to get caught up in hitting a patio after work with colleagues to cool off and enjoy the fleeting summer. Once in awhile may not be so hard on the budget - but it can quickly become a regular thing - and then there goes the budget. The pressure to host BBQs - can also become draining if your friends are joyfully showing up empty handed - both in the food and beverage departments. Oh and the summer vacation; and the added electricity cost of running the A/C; the list goes on and on.
Self Conscious: With summer comes heat - and one of the most common ways to escape it is to head to the closest beach or waterfront park area. This also translates into shorts, short sleeves and bathing suits. When you are not feeling comfortable with how you look the thought showing any skin can lead to stress and anxiety.
The Summer Heat: Just like the cold of winter can be isolating - the heat of summer will have people staying close to their air conditioner to avoid the heat. And if the high temperatures last for days at a time - this can lead to feelings of isolation and little interest to participate in activities outside of their home such as going for a walk or meeting with friends for outdoor fun.
Eating Habits: When the temperatures rise our desire turn on the stove can vanish - turning instead to quick take out meals (that may or may not be healthy options). This can lead to unwanted weight gain and feelings of depression.
Some tips for dealing with SAD in the Summer:
Plan Pot Luck/BYOB: If things are a little tight with finances, or the thought of hosting a gathering is overwhelming and stressing you out - suggest a pot luck and bring your own beverages gathering with friends. This will help keep you social without stretching your budget or feeling like you have to do it all.
Free Summer Fun: During the summer cities such as Toronto offer a whole assortment of free festivals and activities. Check your city's website for free summer fun. This is a great way to have fun all summer long without feeling like you can't do anything without spending large amounts of money.
Plan Meals: Cook extra food and turn it into other meals throughout the week. When I cook pasta or rice - I always make extra. On days that I'm running late or let's face it we all have those days when it's so hot out we just don't feel like cooking - I can add vegetables to either and have a healthy meal in no time.
Speak to Someone: We all experience not so good days - but if your not so good are more frequent than your good days - consider speaking to your family doctor, psychologist or another medical professional who may be able to help you figure out why you are always tired, or lacking interest in things you once enjoyed.
Sleep: With endless activities in can be easy to over do it - and not get enough sleep. Make sure you are getting your required about of sleep each night.
Mindful Movement: Consciously ensure you are moving your body daily - through yoga, stretching, walking or via an other form of exercise. Exercise is key to keeping your mind and body fit.
HYDRATE: Make sure you are drinking plenty of water - the summer heat can really dehydrate you. Too often we think we are hungry - but what our body really need is a glass of water.
Have you experience SAD during summer months?
How did/do you deal with it ?
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