Feel Summertime Sadness? You’re Not Alone

| 2 min read

One young woman sitting alone on edge of footbridge and staring at lake and cloudy sky in summer day. Thinking about life. Spending time alone in nature. Peaceful atmosphere. Back view.
There’s just something about the summer that seems so happy: The sun is shining, birds are singing and there is an abundance of fun outdoor activities to take part in.
However, summer might not be something everyone looks forward to. In fact, some even dread it. An estimated 10% of people who experience seasonal mood disorder (SMD) – a depression that is triggered every year around the same time – find that they experience their symptoms throughout the summer months.
And while it shares a name with the more common winter SMD, the symptoms for summer SMD can be a bit different. According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of summer SMD include:
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Poor appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Agitation or anxiety
  • A constant state of depression
  • Low energy
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling hopeless, worthless, guilty
  • Thoughts of suicide

What you can do about summertime sadness

While no one is entirely sure why people experience summer SMD, there are a few theories. For one, the increased amount of sunshine can change your internal clock and melatonin levels, making it tougher to sleep. If that’s happening to you, try taking a short afternoon nap in a darker environment when possible.
The heat may also be linked to summer SMD symptoms. According to the New York Times, reports of summer SMD are more frequent in areas with hotter temperatures. It could help if you regulate your body temperature as much as possible by taking colder showers, cranking up the AC or taking a cool swim on days that seem unbearably hot.
Most importantly, if your symptoms include depression or suicidal thoughts, seek immediate assistance. Set up an appointment with your doctor, visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org or call 1-800-273-8255 to get the help you need.
Photo credit: Getty Images

A Healthier Michigan is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.
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