"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Summertime blues?

“Summer, and life is easy.” These timeless tunes set the tone for us to savor the long-awaited parts of the yr when we will normally count on sunshine and heat. But it's not that easy for people to take care of an often unrecognized version of seasonal affective disorder called summertime SAD.

SAD is marked by depressive symptoms at a certain time of yr. Classic SAD occurs in late fall or winter when sunlight levels drop and gloomy days predominate. For among the 2% of people that develop SAD during their lifetime, nonetheless, these symptoms coincide with the arrival of lovely weather, fun outdoor activities, fragrant greenery, and vacation getaways.

Signs to observe for

Long-established evidence blows away stereotypes—reinforced in popular culture, corresponding to within the classic film It's a beautiful life. – Suicidal thoughts increase throughout the winter holidays. “Everybody thinks the suicide rate is highest at Christmas, but it's in April,” says Dr. Duckworth. Similarly, summer or “reverse” SAD is the alternative of normal seasonal time. “If you know you're vulnerable in the summer, you can plan for that,” he says.

As with depression typically, nonetheless, SAD affects women greater than men. The change from cold to warm led by the weather can even dip the mood in ways which can be greater than only a case of the summer blues. These summer SAD symptoms are much like overall depression symptoms:

  • Irritability
  • restlessness
  • Changes in appetite
  • Low power
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Changes in sleep
  • Feeling hopeless or worthless.

Dr. Duckworth notes that importantly, though, reverse SAD sometimes differs from winter-running depression with symptoms which can be inconsistent with eating and sleeping.

“Classic depression symptoms are sleeping less, eating less, and losing weight,” he says. “But many people with summer SAD sleep 17 hours a day and put on 20 pounds.”

Warm weather triggers

A precursor to winter SAD is a persistent reduction in natural light, which is assumed to disrupt the body's 24-hour clock, in addition to the brain's ability to process serotonin. which affects a chemical mode. But in summer, persons are exposed to many hours of daylight, so “the working assumption is that light is not a problem,” says Dr. Duckworth.

So what else can contribute to SAD throughout the summer?

Discontinuous routines. Sticking to a calming routine is understood to be crucial for managing depression, but summer can affect on a regular basis life.

Unbearable temperature. Likewise, hot and humid weather has its detractors — and steamy temperatures drive many indoors, where they avoid mood-boosting exercise.

Increased social pressure. Winter can promote comfortable hibernating and eliminate the need to socialize. (The pandemic actually fueled this trend.) But invitations to barbecues and parties often pile up in the hotter months. Paradoxically, these social pressures can fuel the awkwardness of mood tanking.

Theories abound, but ultimately, scientists aren't entirely sure why SAD might strike in the summertime. “The key is to understand what's unique to you,” says Dr. Duckworth.

Strategy to try

Use these steps to combat summer SAD:

Lean on the treatment. People who take antidepressants mustn’t select spring or summer to cut back their dose, and might schedule additional therapy appointments. Also, “If you've suffered a summer loss and you realize that time of year is a trigger, it's a good time to join a grief group,” says Dr. Duckworth.

Revise routines. Reduce excessive amounts of “together time” with children or other relations by sharing childcare and carpooling duties. Go back to tried-and-true ways to regain control of your days, like setting reminder alarms and keeping a family schedule.

Double down on exercise. Milder days could be ideal for swimming, brisk walking and bike riding, but don't be a couch potato if the warmth and humidity draw you in. De-stress in indoor gyms or pools, or with home exercise equipment.

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