Good weather, going to the beach, festivals, trips, holidays, fun, fun, fun! Your Instagram and Facebook feed are just endless pictures from the best events of the summer and exhilarating descriptions of the dangerous amounts of fun your online friends are having. These images haunt you whether you’re home alone bored and poor, or as you power through another 10 hour long shift just wishing you could go home, or preferably, away.
It’s easy to feel low when everyone around you seems to have the most amazing time or when your summer doesn’t turn out to be as amazing as you hoped it would be. This is a major factor in why some people get depressed in the summer.
Seasonal Affective Disorder not only refers to the more common Winter Depression, but also to depression inflicted by long, bright days and high temperatures. While many feel uplifted by light, it’s not uncommon to have an opposite reaction to the long days. It can lead to insomnia, and the heat can make you feel more tired and find it harder to get things done. Financial stress, disruption of your normal schedule and issues with your body image are all other factors that can impact your mood negatively in the summer. With all these combined, you can see why some people wouldn’t think that summer is the best time of the year.
So what can you do to combat these feelings?
Break up with social media
One thing, that sounds easier than it is, is to take a break from social media. Not being exposed to all those happy smiles will most likely help you to feel less left out or as if your life isn’t as fun and exciting as others. When you don’t compare yourself to others, you can focus on how to spend your time in a way that makes you happy, rather than being upset that you’re not somewhere or someone else.
Do something for yourself!
Once you’ve switched off your social media it’s time to think of what you can do with this extra time! Waking up early and having a good morning routine, whatever that means to you, will set the mood for the rest of your day. Here are some ideas:
- Exercising in the morning before it gets too warm will get you energized for the day!
- Getting some chores done first thing will free your mind up to relax or focus on other things, instead of having them hanging over you all day.
- Watch, read or do something that inspires you in the morning that you can carry with you through your day.
Keeping yourself cool and hydrated throughout the day is very important for you to feel alert and energised. Try to keep a water bottle with you wherever you go. Closing the curtains, pulling the blinds down and keeping the windows open will also make your home cooler if it’s a hot day outside.
It’s ok to say no!
Expectations can make us feel worse. Try not to push yourself to do things you don’t want to do. You don’t have to go to the beach or to that BBQ – it’s okay to stay in! For the things you don’t want to miss give yourself time to plan for them so you feel prepared and ready to take them on when they come.
Catch those zzz’s
Try to go to bed early, with windows open and a thin duvet/sheet if it’s hot. Sleep is super important for your wellbeing, so try to get at least 7 hours a night to make sure you feel rested enough for the next day.
So if you’re feeling summer sad, try to implement these suggestions into your life, but if you struggle don’t hesitate to get help. It’s not unusual to feel depressed in summer, so book an appointment with a GP or talk to a therapist. Your feelings are legitimate and you deserve to feel well, so look after yourself.