Ain't No Cure for the Summer Time Blues?
|For many of us the sun is finally shining through the clouds. After a winter of cold weather and plenty of reason to be discontent, you’d expect the warm weather to put a smile on everyone’s face. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way for everyone. It may surprise you, but many individuals experience the sunny weather blues.|
To be exact, researchers estimate that roughly 1% of the population suffers from Summer S.A.D., also referred to as reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder, compared with 5% for the Winter disorder.
So why are we sharing this relatively esoteric medical information with you? Consider the fact that over the past two weeks our mailbox has been inundated with letters from readers begging the very same question. Here are two such examples:
“My moods are pretty stable (and content) throughout the year until it becomes summer. When everyone else is out running and biking I find myself secretly praying for rain.” – Laurie, age 33, Chicago
“I think the pressure of warm weather is far to overwhelming for me to handle alone. I am wondering if anyone else feels the same way I do”? Larry, age 41, Portland Oregon
While Larry and Laurie may be describing symptoms that are associated with Summer S.A.D., there is far too little medical or case information to make a diagnosis. This time of year can also be particularly challenging for individuals who find themselves feeling lonely amidst the waves of smiling couples and happy families, guilty (and bored) for staying indoors and anxious because of the added social pressures brought on by the change in temperature.
While there may not be a cure for the summertime blues, those officially diagnosed with the mood disorder have found staying in cool air conditioned places, swimming regularly and taking cold showers to be very helpful. For the rest of us, most probably the majority, the mood is best only a symptom of other feelings which manifest inside of us.
If this describes how you are feeling, here are some preventive measures which may help you deal with the summertime blues:
1. Smiling people may seem to be everywhere, but that’s because you do not see the people who may be battling with the same issues as you or others who are just better at hiding their emotions. Though few people are officially diagnosed with Summer S.A.D. there seems to be a significant population of individuals who encounter feelings of depression during the summer months. Recognizing that you are not alone will hopefully help you normalize how you are feeling and allow you to take some steps to improve your mindset.
2. Too much time with nothing to do will make anyone feel lonely and less confident about themselves. There’s no denying that weekends alone are difficult, but can be even more so in the summertime when people’s schedules and whereabouts are scattered. The reality is that you do not have to have be with people 24/7 to feel satisfied. The trick in this case is to plan ahead so that you have meaningful ways to spend your free time. A simple plan with an end goal in place, even taking a drive for the day, not only gives you something to do but will also give you that sense of accomplishment you need to keep your spirits happy.
3. Be mindful of soft addictions like television watching and internet surfing because they can negatively affect your mood. Try instead to engage in activities that will keep your adrenaline or creative juices flowing. If the warm weather gets to you, take up an outdoor activioty such as tennis or swimming indoors, or sign up for an creative arts class like pottery where you can work with material and textures that are cold, wet and slippery.
4. If “pretty people” is all that you see, it may be part of the reason you are suffering. People’s mind can play crazy tricks on them in the warm weather months as body and beauty pressures mount. Summer is supposed to be fun, so don’t waste time obsessing about your weight or hiding out because you don’t think you look good enough. And remember, too much skin does not make sexy, it’s all in the attitude.
While the song says “there ain’t no cure for the summertime blues,” we beg to disagree. Just adjust your routine or try some of the tips we’ve set forth here to snap out of the funk, and you’ll more likely be rejuvenating than ruminating!
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