Summertime Blues. Is it normal?

summertime blues can lead to depression

Summertime blues. Is it normal? So, this is a pretty personal blog. We have a rising 9th grader, and all the things she used to love about summer – pool, beach, friends, camp…they’re just not bringing her out of her funk. She seems lonely, isolated and just basically sad. So, are summertime blues an actual thing? Let’s take a deeper dive.

Waters Edge Counseling has some ideas about the many factors that might impact someone’s mood during the summer months:

Summertime Blues. Is it normal? Or do you need more support?

Body image insecurities

The pressure to fit in is constant. But during the summertime people may avoid enjoyable activities, such as going to the beach or pool, hanging out in the park and other outdoor activities due to body insecurities. This body-shaming can lead to decreased self-esteem, and it may also lead to increased loneliness and isolation.

Heat Intolerance

Especially here in the south, people can find the high temperatures during summer to be oppressive. The heat can make you feel more irritable as a result of being uncomfortable. Some people feel more affected by the heat than others. This feeling can cause people to stay indoors, which also may lead to feelings of isolation.

Routine Disruption

This is common during summer. Maybe the kids are home from school. Or possibly you are on summer break yourself. Getting away from routines can negatively impact mental and physical health.

sleep disruption from summertime blues and depression

Changes in sleep schedule

This one is a big one at our house. The longer days and shorter nights can cause disrupted sleep for many. For those who are able to sleep, they may be feeling more moody, groggy, or just not themselves. For others, the extra exposure to light means tossing and turning or no sleep at all.

Financial stress

Well, with all there is to do, some might be feeling more financially ill at ease. Vacations, summer sports, camp, etc. can lead to increased expenses and financial worries.

There are many factors that may cause someone to feel sad or blue, but this is not the same as being depressed. We want to explore the difference.

How to know if it is Summertime Sadness or Summertime Depression.

Firstly, it is imperative to note that Summertime Blues may be a more serious problem. Symptoms of major depressive disorder include feeling down, hopelessness, feelings of isolation and loss of interest in things previously enjoyed. You may have heard of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) (now called Major Depressive Disorder with a Seasonal Pattern) that occurs during the winter months. However, fewer people are familiar with Reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Like winter-onset Seasonal Affective Disorder, Reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder returns every year at about the same time. Beyond the regularity of the depression coming and going, there are few similarities.

Contrasted to winter onset, summertime onset symptoms can include:

  • Insomnia
  • Loss of appetite and/or weight loss
  • Irritability
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Isolation
  • Physical symptoms, such as headaches

What can you do to boost your mood?

Waters Edge Counseling has a few tips and ideas to help you cope more effectively or rid yourself of symptoms altogether:

  • Check in with yourself –  Don’t be hard on yourself! It is not helpful to compare ourselves to others and constantly putting ourselves down. This can result in increased isolation. Instead of comparing yourself to your friends, get in touch with what is most important for you. What are some speed bumps you may need to overcome? Focus on how you can break out of the summertime blues.
  • Establish a routine – Try to maintain a routine. This can include consistent sleeping, eating, and exercise. This doesn’t have to be exact but the more structured you are, the more in control you can feel about what is happening around you.
  • Eat well – Eat a healthy diet. This includes lots of summer fruits, vegetables, and protein.
  • Exercise – Keep up with your exercise, but don’t be obsessive! Exercise is important for mood control. But it is just as important to be in tune with your body. Be sure to stick to a slow and steady pace. Here in the south, you should be able to get outside more rather than having your workouts strictly in the gym.  If it is too hot outside, you may want to find ways to exercise early in the morning or in the evening when it is cooler outside.
  • Get lots of rest and sleep – Make sure to sleep! Doing this helps ensure your melatonin levels stay stabilized despite the longer hours spent in daylight during the summer months.
  • Plan ahead – It is important to make plans but be aware when doing so. Having something to look forward to is great, but be sure to understand your financial limitations. You may have to miss that great excursion to join the summer day camp you have been looking forward to. Prioritize your wish-list. Challenge yourself to find low-cost ways of having fun.

counseling for summertime blues and depression

Reach Out for Help

In addition to these helpful tips, Waters Edge Counseling can help those who may be experiencing the blues, depression or anxiety. Call us today at 912.319.5552 or email us. Our counselors are here and ready to help!