Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a disorder that affects many people and causes feelings of depression that can be linked to the time of year. While many people associate SAD with winter due to the dwindling daylight and cold temperatures, there are other unique difficulties that can be present throughout the year. It is just as possible to experience a different form of SAD during the summer months. This particular season presents its own unique challenges and can result in similar feelings of depression or hardship.
What Is Seasonal Affective Disorder?
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a common disorder that results in feelings of low mood or depression in conjunction with the seasons. While it is commonly linked to the winter months, it isn’t solely relegated to that time of year and can instead be tied to any particular season that an individual finds consistently difficult for any number of reasons.
During winter, the shorter days can have a massive impact on an individual’s mental health, and the cold temperatures can compromise many of an individual’s usual hobbies or therapeutic practices, such as going on walks, participating in sporting events, or meeting up with friends. This can leave an individual feeling isolated, stuck indoors, and with a feeling of the perpetual night, all taking a toll on one’s mental state.
However, summertime SAD is also a very real concern, though it manifests uniquely. Those suffering from summertime SAD can still experience a number of difficulties particular to the season. While summertime is often touted as a time of relaxation, fun, and celebration, such a notion is by no means universal. Longer days, summertime expectations, and the heat of the season can bring about their own stresses, and as long as one’s mental health can be tied to a particular season, SAD can still manifest.
Extended Daylight and Changing Schedules
Just as the lack of light during winter can present a number of unique hurdles, the longer days can also create their own unforeseen stresses. Extended periods of light may disrupt an individual’s sleep schedule, either keeping one up later than normal, or the rising morning sun may wake one up early in the morning before one has had enough sleep. These extended days can also make an individual feel as if they have to fill this time with more activities or outings which an individual may not necessarily be prepared for, further disrupting established routines.
Heat Isn’t for Everyone
Depending on each individual’s comfort, the extreme heat throughout the summer can have many similar effects as the cold temperatures of the winter. Those who prefer the cooler temperatures of autumn or winter may find themselves staying indoors to avoid the heat. Those more comfortable staying indoors with a fan or air conditioning in order to avoid the heat can also begin to feel isolated by their avoidance of the outdoors. Other regular practices may also be compromised, such as daily jogs or hikes, in an effort to avoid the blistering heat or high humidity that can all cause an individual discomfort.
Coping With Social Expectations
The expectations of the summer months being a time of social gatherings, fun, and vacations can have a drastic effect on each individual, either for better or worse. While some may look forward to the opportunities that summer provides, others may loathe the expectations associated with the season, and this can stretch far beyond social anxiety.
These expectations, especially around the 4th of July or any other summer celebrations, cookouts, or vacations, can be difficult to process. Social anxieties and the influx of social expectations can further compromise one’s feelings of safety or alter otherwise familiar schedules, even just through their prevalent imagery on social media or commercials.
Summer can also bring about feelings of self-deprecation or insecurity, especially when it comes to body image. The pressure and stress of getting “beach body ready” can carry a great deal of stress. An individual may begin to see the season as a time of insecurity when placed against these wholly unrealistic expectations, furthering feelings of depression regardless of how unfair the expectation may be.
SAD is much more than a winter concern, and summer seasonal affective disorder can pose just as many hurdles as any other season. The depression felt can still be very real, and understanding the existence of SAD throughout all seasons of the year can help an individual be prepared to tackle not just the cold winter months but also the equally as difficult hot summer days.
The summer months can be just as difficult to manage as any other time of year, and the effects of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) can cause a myriad of hurdles that have to be addressed on an annual basis. At Everlast Recovery Center, we strive to understand each individual’s unique perspective. We are prepared to help you cope with the difficult mental and emotional issues unique to this time of year. Our programs offer a personalized blend of individual therapy sessions, cognitive-behavioral therapy, mindfulness practices, and experiential therapies to find an approach that can help you. Learning to manage your stress and emotions while continuing to establish and adhere to crucial regular routines is all part of the process. The professionals available today can help you begin to establish your best practices for tackling the unique hurdles of the summer season. For more on how we can help you or to speak to a caring staff member about your situation, call us today at (866) 338-6925.