All About Seasonal Affective Disorder

seasonal affective disorder

Even with the sun shining and the buzz of the season in full swing, not everyone loves the warm weather or gets excited about this time of the year. Summertime sadness is very real and if you’ve been experiencing some turbulent emotions lately, you’re certainly not alone. In fact, depression or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) affects approximately 1 in 10 people during the summer. If this sounds familiar to you, here are some things to understand about this condition and what you can do to help resolve what you’re feeling.

What is SAD?

Seasonal Affective Disorder is something you may have heard of before, but usually, it’s expressed in association with the wintertime. With all of the harsh and overcast winter weather and extended time being cooped up at home, it’s easy to see why people’s emotions and mental health may be impacted. Summertime SAD, on the other hand, can seem confusing. But the reality is this disorder can affect people any time of the year, stirring up strong feelings of anxiety and depression.

Why Does It Occur In The Summer?

It may seem odd to feel bouts of depression during this bright and sunny time of year when everyone around you looks bubbly and overjoyed with the good weather. But there are a number of reasons that can make summertime sadness very real and gripping.  Loneliness and boredom can be factors to consider, especially if you have friends who are travelling abroad without you, or if you’re less busy during the season, which can force you to spend more time alone and in self-reflection. This can sometimes make it easy to get trapped in your own thoughts.

Feeling anxiety and agitation for upcoming social summer events can also make you retreat and hide, which can exacerbate what you’re feeling. And, even the extreme heat in some regions can cause insomnia or even loss of appetite, which can impact how you feel.

How Can I Improve And Get Through The Season?

There are some simple things that you can do to help give your body and mind some reprieve from your summertime sadness. Here are a few tips to try:

Spend More Time Outside

If you’re suffering from depression, it can feel incredibly difficult to motivate yourself to get up and get outside. But this is one of the best things that you can do to feel better, especially during the summer.  It has been proven time and time again that a good dose of vitamin D, which you naturally get from the sun, greatly improves your mood. So try to give yourself a big push to get outside more, even just to take a stroll or sit in the park to soak up some sunshine.

Find Some Form Of Exercise You Enjoy

Staying active is another very effective way to help your body and mind feel better. When you’re engaging in some form of exercise, your body releases serotonin and dopamine, which are the body’s natural “feel good” hormones. These have shown to help regulate emotions and ease the effects of anxiety and depression. So find something that you enjoy and get active least twice per week.

Talk To Someone

If you have a best friend, sibling or parent that you feel comfortable with, talk to them about what you’re experiencing. Sometimes, being able to share what you’re feeling can help you get through those emotions. You can also turn to a professional for support and learn more about what it is that you’re experiencing.

At Ottawa Counselling, our team of therapists are here to listen, support and guide you in a safe and comfortable environment. If you need someone to talk to, or want to understand more about your summertime SAD, contact us today to request an appointment.