Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is often associated with winter depression. It is where we experience symptoms such as low mood, low energy, decreased interests in previously enjoyed activities, increased appetite, isolation, and hypersomnia, during fall and/or winter seasons.
It has been shown that some of experience SAD during spring and/or summer. Typical symptoms of summer depression or 'summertime blues' includes:
- Low mood;
- Reduced appetite;
- Weight loss;
The causes of summer depression remains unknown, however the possible contributing factors are said to include hot and humid weather conditions and longer daylight hours. Other stressors specific to summer season includes:
- Changes in routine due to summer break (i.e. being out of regular routine at work / school);
- Change in sleep and/or meal routine;
- Health reasons that may prevent us from participating in summer activities;
- Body-image-related concerns such as anxiety that may prevent us from participating in outdoor activities
Although it is common to have certain levels of mood fluctuations and appetite changes, experiences of severe symptoms for an extended period of time that may cause significant distress and affect our daily functioning in work, academic, or social settings could have adverse impact on our life. Importantly, given the extended period of challenges, the possible impact of COVID-19 stressors must also be taken into account.
If you feel as though you are experiencing signs of summertime blues, it is important that you do not suffer in silence and seek help from a mental health professional. Additionally, some of the self-care activities to better cope with SAD generally are:
- Maintaining well-adjusted sleep and meal routine;
- Having a balanced diet that also includes plenty of seasonal fruits and vegetables;
- Engaging in regular exercising routine;
- Avoid becoming socially isolated and being confined at home (Also refer to the previous blog post 'Social distancing & self-isolation under ongoing COVID-19' for ways to stay in contact with important others).