Yes, you read that correctly! Did you know that a great deal of people are affected by SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) during the longer, hotter, and hazier months? The lack of structure, fear of missing out, changes in routine, and physical sensitivity to heat and humidity can make anxiety and depression worse in the summer. In the summertime, people get restless, agitated, have trouble sleeping and eating, and they lose weight. Sometimes it gets so bad it can even lead to anxiety and anger.
Although experts don't really know what causes SAD, genetics is thought to be a major factor in causing depressive illness, whether it strikes seasonally or any time. Some evidence suggests that too much sunlight, or the lack of it, disrupts the body’s circadian rhythms. Too much sun can reduce the body’s production of melatonin, which can wreak havoc on the sleep-wake cycle. Sleep, too much or too little, is a key factor in depression. If you have a genetic disposition, the stress from sleep problems may trigger depression.
Other risk factors for experiencing SAD in the summer are:
Being female — women are four times more likely to experience it than men
Geography — living closer to the equator increases risk
If you are feeling a little down, the best things you can do are to eat well, exercise, and surround yourself with the people in your life that make you feel like you matter. You should practice self-care by getting enough sleep (maybe buying those light-blocking curtains or shades), meditating, cutting down on alcohol, and talking to your doctor about your depression.
Just know that if you are a little down this summer you are not alone! We are always here to listen. Maybe you can join us for our Monday night runs or Tuesday and Thursday morning walks. Reach out to Deanna if you would like more information.