We all love the summer sunshine, but did you know that even during the sunniest season, more people then you may think can experience the blues. People often think of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) as something that can only affect you during the colder months. Despite this, 1 out of 10 who suffer from SAD experience symptoms during the summer months. That’s a whopping 200,000 Brits face summer SAD every year.
Working with Integrative Psychotherapist from St Andrew’s Healthcare, Liz Ritchie, greetings card marketplace thortful offers tips on how to spot SAD during the summer, and how you can support your loved ones who may be struggling with summer SAD.
What can trigger SAD in people during the summer?
According to Liz Ritchie: “Not a lot is talked about summer depression, which can really impact some people. One of the biggest reasons why people get summer depression is because they feel a social expectation to enjoy summer. Social media feeds are full of other people having fun, which can ramp up the pressure some people may already be feeling.”
Liz Ritchie highlights a few common triggers of summer SAD:
- Heat and lifestyle changes. The increased temperature and shifts in routine can be enough to trigger depression symptoms like restlessness, irritability, disrupted sleep, loss of appetite, and anxiety.
- Sunlight overload. Too much exposure to sunlight can mess with the production of melatonin, the hormone responsible for regulating sleep. This disruption can throw an individual’s sleep cycle off balance.
- Adjusting to longer days. For some, getting used to the longer daylight hours can be a challenge. Additionally, the humidity that often accompanies summer can lead to feelings of agitation and fatigue.
- Financial concerns. The summer months can amplify worries about money. Parents, especially, may stress about finding extra funds to feed their children, particularly when they rely on free school meals during term time. The pressure to keep kids entertained without breaking the bank can also contribute to feelings of failure, anxiety, and depression.
How to support Friends and Family with summer sadness
According to a recent survey by thortful it revealed that 62% of Brits find in difficult to talk about their mental health with friends and family and in addition to this, two-fifths (40%) are uncertain of how to support their friend who is struggling with mental health issues. While it’s important to direct your friends and family to a health professional who can support their needs if they are struggling, there are small things we with close relations can do to help, too.
- Regular check-ins. Give them a call regularly to let them know you’re there for them.
- Coffee chats. Meet up for a refreshing cup of coffee and a heart to heart chat.
- Stroll in the sun. Go for regular walks together to enjoy the beautiful summer weather, get some vitamin D and provide a listening ear.
- Social inclusion. Keep them in the loop about social events and invite them to join, ensuring they feel included and connected.
- Seek professional support. Help them find a right professional support if needed, guiding them towards the assistance they require.
Commenting on the survey findings and summer sadness, Senior Brand Manager at thortful, Becky Daniels says, “At thortful we’re all about being thoughtful to others and being open about our feelings, whether it’s joy, sadness, or everything in-between! The survey reveals we still have a way to go to break the stigma of mental health, but we’re hoping these numbers and tips offer some insight and help to anyone who might need it this summer and beyond.”