THE THERAPY ROOM: Summertime Blues

Posted on 18 July 2019 by LeslieM

Do you find yourself depressed during the summer months? Is it difficult for you to manage children being home from school, family visiting or planning your own summer vacation? You are not alone. Many people experience Summertime Blues or Summertime Depression due to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

SAD is a psychological mood disorder in which people who have normal mental health throughout most of the year exhibit depressive symptoms at the same time each year. SAD has gained notoriety during the winter months due to the decrease in daylight, but SAD also exists during the summer months and is linked to two factors:

• the light-dark cycle

• temperature and humidity

The following are some triggers that ignite Summertime Blues/SAD:

Sleeping Disorders: Staying up later due to summer days being longer naturally exposes you to more light. This can cause you to not sleep well, or not sleep at all.

Body Image: If you have a negative body image you might avoid going to the beach or engaging in any outdoor activity. Most people feel this from time to time, but those with Summertime Blues/SAD feel it acutely which propels their summertime depression even more.

Daily Routine Disruptions: I explain to many of my psychotherapy patients who suffer from SAD that having a consistent and reliable routine is key to managing and reducing symptoms. It is very important to try to maintain a consistent sleeping, eating and exercise routine during the summer months.

Financial Stress: Vacations, family gatherings, socializing with friends, summer camps, etc. can create an exhaustive list of costs. This can be challenging for those with SAD and trying to follow a budget can be stressful.

Tips to help you better cope with Summertime Blues/SAD:

Sleep: Make sure you rest and get enough sleep during the summer months. Contact your physician to discuss ways to help stabilize your melatonin levels.

Time Management: It is important to try to set a consistent routine during the summer months. Do not aim for creating a perfect schedule — just one that you can follow and adjust as needed. This will make you feel in control of what is happening around you.

Delegate: One of my psychotherapy patients expressed to me that she was overwhelmed with a heavy workload as a corporate accountant and was cleaning her house and cooking more for her family during the summer months. We worked towards her delegating more chores at home to her older children who were on summer break and asking her manager for help with some of her accounting tasks. It is important to ask for help when it is needed to prevent being overwhelmed or depressed.

Psychotherapy can also work wonders for those dealing with Summertime Blues and even help to reverse SAD. Remember that change is always possible!

Dr. Julia Breur is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a private clinical psychotherapy practice in Boca Raton. For more information, call 561-512-8545, e-mail info@drjuliabreur.com or visit www.drjuliabreur.com.

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