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5 Triggers for SAD During Summer

Feeling the winter blues of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is more commonly discussed than summertime sadness. Those affected by warm weather-related SAD can experience depression, sadness, and loss of interest in enjoying the season and can be set in motion by some of the following:

Daylight patterns

Longer days can disturb sleeping patterns and can create periods of insomnia. Research has shown that the increase in daylight disrupts circadian rhythms and the body’s internal clock. For some, it can be challenging to manage and adjust. Melatonin levels can also flux, meaning getting a good night’s sleep becomes a struggle, affecting mood and alertness the following day. Taking a break from the sunshine in a darkened room can make a significant mood impact.

Vacations

While getaways can be relaxing, planning your trip can be stressful. Budgeting and book hotels, arranging flights, and planning activities can feel overwhelming. Spending extended time with certain family members can cause distress on its own when relationships are complicated. No matter the catalyst, stress may leave you with more worries than excitement to travel. Knowing what causes you to feel overwhelmed can help you monitor your emotions and keep them in check. Making a checklist of tasks to cross off as you complete them—like packing, filling the car with gas, and double-checking hotel confirmation—can help relieve anxiety-inducing steps to get out the door. Setting boundaries as to who you vacation with and what activities you do can stop overwhelming feelings before they start.

Gatherings and alcohol consumption

Summer events like cookouts and other gatherings mean more opportunities for social drinking. Alcohol is a known depressant that negatively affects mood if consumed in excess. Set limits and be confident when saying, “No thanks!” to a cocktail, and reach for lemonade instead.

Schedule changes

Teachers and after-school care aides can lose their rhythm with the sudden loss of structure that summer brings. A job change or big move in the summer can throw a wrench in routines, leading to bouts of depression. Maintaining your standard wake/sleep schedule can help combat feeling out of sorts. Scheduling activities during the summer can help fill in the gaps that working hours once filled, alleviate an empty calendar, and create events you can count on.

Psychosocial issues

Adolescents are still developing and experiencing change. Their bodies are still growing, meaning chemicals and hormones can be off-balance. In addition, youth finding their place among their peers can lead to worry and thoughts of rejection. Keeping tabs on your child’s mood and emotions can open a dialogue about how they’re feeling. Then, you can help them choose esteem-boosting activities that will lift their spirits and enjoy everything summer has to offer. Valley Oaks is here to help you conquer symptoms of SAD, rain or shine. Let us help you enjoy the best of every season.

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