Managing Mental Health During the Summer
While many people are often excited for Summer, managing mental health during the summer months can be difficult for others, specifically those with seasonal depression. Although this condition is commonly known to affect individuals in the winter, it can apply to summer and weather changes in general. This varies from person to person. Some struggle during the summer due to being out of school, less distractions, loneliness, peer comparison, etc. There are many things that can help maintain mental health during the summer!
What Does Summer Have to Do with Mental Health?
Summer can be a time of distress for some people. Between 4-6% of the population in the United States are diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as Seasonal Depression. While this percentage seems low, it is equivalent to 11 million people in the US. Seasonal Depression can be attributed to hormonal changes in the brain that occur with weather changes. (Cleveland Clinic).
Mental Health Summer Tips:
- Get in the sun. The sun is not only the primary source of Vitamin D, known to improve mood and mental health; being outdoors in general can also be a mood booster.
- Pick up a new hobby. People find the summertime a perfect time to pick up a new hobby or interest. This keeps your mind busy, and also gives you something to look forward to and be excited about.
- Set a reasonable goal. Pick up a book you’ve been dying to read or finish, or some other goal and make a plan to work on it this summer. Setting goals can give you something to look forward to, increase motivation, and provide a distraction. Not to mention, you will feel great when you achieve it!
- Reach out. Social interaction and support can be a big mental health booster. Whether it is reaching out to someone you know to arrange a get together, or finding online support/interest groups where you might be able to connect with others with similar interests.
- Stay cool and hydrated. Being overheated or dehydrated can also contribute to low mood or mental health concerns. Staying cool and drinking plenty of water can help keep your mental health in check.
- Move Around. It can be easy to sit and relax when we don’t have much to do (which of course, is also a necessity). However, any type of movement can help boost mental health in general, even if it is light stretching, yoga, walking, etc.
For more mental health summer tips, check out WedMD’s article on Summer Depression.
If you are struggling with your mental health this summer, know that you are not alone! Summer depression among other struggles is more common that you might think. If you’ve been struggling with your mental health for a while or have been diagnosed with a condition that seems to be getting worse or more difficult to manage, as always, reach out to a trusted professional who might be able to help. You never have to struggle alone. If you know someone who is struggling with seasonal affective disorder or mental health in general, you can offer your support by asking what they may need, keeping them company, and offering to help them in seeking help.
Cleveland Clinic. (2022, April 10). Seasonal Depression (seasonal affective disorder). Cleveland Clinic. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/9293-seasonal-depression
Griffin, M. R. (2021, August 18). Summer depression: Causes, symptoms, and tips to help. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/depression/summer-depression