By: David Guion, PhD, JFS Clinical Psychologist
For many, the summer is an anticipated and enjoyable time, particularly through the extra opportunities to get outdoors and socialize. For others, the summer can be a particularly challenging time, so much so that about 10% of people who have seasonal affective disorder actually get it in the summer versus in the shorter and less sunny days of winter. Whether or not you or someone you know has an official diagnosis, summer presents challenges to many people that can contribute to feelings of depression, sadness, anxiety, and/or worry, particularly in later periods of summer like August. For example, some folks struggle with disrupted schedules and routine (e.g., with sleep and eating times) that come in summer. Others may have body image concerns that are more likely to be triggered in the summer as people go to places like the beach and pool. In addition, summer can be expensive with vacations, children’s activities and day-time childcare, etc., which may lead to financial worry. The heat and humidity can also impact mood and lead to irritability, particularly for those not fortunate enough to have A/C and/or dependable A/C.
If you or someone you know is feeling emotions such as depression, sadness, and/or worry brought on by such factors, it is important to know that you and/or they are not alone. It also can help to give yourself permission to return to structured sleep, diet, and exercise, as well as to ensure you have adequate time for rest built in during the summer. It can be helpful to work within a budget and acknowledge personal preferences, such as for time indoors versus outdoors. It can also be helpful to talk to a therapist about any underlying concerns (e.g., in keeping up appearances; feeling you can’t “manage” your emotions) and/or to make a plan for upcoming summers. We can assist you in that way, and we would welcome your call at JFS Counseling at 282.5644.