3 Tips for Coping with Summertime Depression
There are a lot of resources out there for how to deal with seasonal depression in the wintertime, but what about summertime depression? Coping with summertime depression is difficult because the sun is shining, the days are long, and the pressure to enjoy ourselves is high. For some of us though, summer brings with it unique challenges that can cause worsening depression symptoms.
The number one trigger for my own summertime depression is the lack of routine. Without a routine, I start to feel directionless, which quickly leads to an emotional spiral. During the school year, my classes dictated my routine, but in the summer, I'm left to my own devices to decide what to do with my time, and I am terrible at making decisions. I typically end up paralyzed, unable to choose what I want to do, so I end up doing nothing. This makes me feel stupid, lazy and ashamed, which then leads to depression. Even though I've been out of school for over a year now, summer still brings on waves of these feelings, and I definitely struggle to cope with them.
How to Cope with Summertime Depression
In the past, my strategy for coping with summertime depression was to ignore it and pretend it was completely normal and I was just being lazy and overly sensitive to my symptoms. As you might expect, this was not particularly helpful, so here are some better options I'm trying this summer:
- Develop a routine. So far, this hasn't gone very well for me, but I'm determined to keep trying because I really believe it will help. For people like me who struggle with feeling directionless in the summer, having a routine helps prevent the indecision paralysis I described above. Instead of waking up and immediately facing a million tiny decisions about what to do, I can simply get up and follow my routine, limiting the possibilities for paralysis and all the shame and depression that come with it ("How to Fight Summer Depression with an Active Brain").
- Take time to be out in the sun. On my bad days in the summer, I get angry about being depressed because it feels like I'm missing out on the nice weather I've been craving since the dark days of winter. Then that escalates to feeling like I'm missing out on a nice life in general, and the depression only worsens. Even though spending an hour outside a few times a week won't cure my depression, it can help prevent the anger that often makes my depression worse.
- Eat your fruits and veggies. I think this goes along with a lack of a routine, but I always find myself eating more junk in the summer. Junk food typically spikes my blood sugar, leading to a crash just 20 minutes later, and when my blood sugar falls, it often brings my mood down with it. Fruits and veggies release sugars more slowly, preventing spikes and crashes. The problem is, with depression, it's often difficult to prepare healthy foods that I'll actually eat. I recommend frozen fruits and veggies that can simply be thrown into smoothies or the microwave, individual snack cups of applesauce, or clementines.
What about you? If you suffer from summertime depression, what are some of your tips for coping?
Griffith, M. (2019, June 18). 3 Tips for Coping with Summertime Depression, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, September 15 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/recoveringfrommentalillness/2019/6/3-tips-for-coping-with-summertime-depression