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Summertime blues: Seasonal affective disorder can also hit you in summer

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Seasonal affective disorder is not simply a winter thing. The scorching heat of summer can also give you the summer blues.

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Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) usually affects people in winter, when it is mostly dark and dreary with reduced exposure to daylight. However, some people experience similar symptoms of feeling desolate and tired even in summer. As it happens, a lack of sun is not always to blame for the ‘blues’. People may also experience something called the summer blues. People may feel some of the symptoms of SAD in the summer months, when the transition from cold to warm weather can weaken mood in many compelling ways.

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If you feel like you are experiencing the summer or summer blues seasonal affective disorderLet us tell you what it is and how to deal with the summer blues.

Symptoms of summer seasonal affective disorder

Temperature changes have long been associated with related physiological and psychological changes. When environmental temperatures reach extreme ranges, humans experience related physiological changes and these can have a strong impact on the psyche. Extremely low temperatures and cold winter weather, along with a lack of exposure to sunlight, have been shown to be associated with a sad mood and low energy levels for day-to-day activities. Similarly, rising temperatures have been correlated with increased irritability and mood swings, says psychologist Geetika Kapoor.

Seasonal affective disorder can also appear in the summer. Here’s everything you need to know about the summer blues. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

Some of the worrying signs to watch for include:

• Irritability
• Anxiety
• Changes in appetite
• Low energy levels
• Have trouble concentrating
• Changes in sleep patterns
• Feeling of hopelessness
• Inability to relax
• Stay out on your own
• Less interest in social commitment with others.

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What causes the summer blues?

An important winter trigger SAD It’s a big drop in natural light exposure that is thought to hinder our body’s built-in circadian rhythm. It also hinders our brain’s ability to process serotonin, a chemical that influences mood. However, even with plenty of sunlight in summer, people tend to feel sad. So light isn’t always the problem.

So what contributes to summer SAD? Let’s find out!

1. Disrupted routines

Following a particular routine to instil discipline is said to be crucial in managing the symptoms of depression. But too much outside heat can get in the way of our usual routine and ruin the way we go about our daily lives. Therefore, altered routines can be a major cause of the summer blues.

2. Excess heat outside

Peak summer months always mean intolerable temperatures. This sudden increase in outside temperature causes more people to move indoors and that leads to less indulgence in mood-enhancing exercise. Additionally, people who suffer from mental health problems such as depression, anxiety or schizophrenia notice that their symptoms are worse when it is hot.

3. Social pressure

The winter months are the best times to hibernate and retreat indoors. Furthermore, due to the excess cold outside, people avoid the need to socialize. But as the season moves into summer, people are hosting soirées and feeling that social pressure is affecting their mental health.

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The summer months can also bring about feelings of sadness. Yes, we mean summer blues! Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

How to deal with the summer blues?

Knowing the impact that extreme temperatures can have on us, it is advisable to be attentive to these changes and proactively prepare to mitigate these effects. Some tactics to try may include:

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1. Awareness is the key

Raise awareness about one’s own individual vulnerabilities. Each one is unique in terms of body stamina and stamina. It is useful to keep track of one’s own history and generate acceptance of one’s own capabilities and thresholds. In this way we can anticipate and be prepared for upcoming temperature changes, considers the expert.

Also read: Feel sad? Here are 7 Signs of Seasonal Affective Disorder to Watch Out For

2. Practice kindness to yourself and others.

Be aware of temperamental differences between family members and co-workers. Human beings exist in groups. All individuals influence others. Therefore, we must be attentive to how other people are affected by extreme weather temperatures. We must all work to regulate the emotional impact on ourselves and those around us.

3. Consider treatment of pre-existing psychiatric illnesses.

People suffering from psychiatric illnesses would be more vulnerable to extreme temperatures and should be in contact with their treating doctors and therapists about precautions and changes in the course of treatment if necessary, the expert suggests.

4. Ensure physical comfort

Deliberately maintaining comfortable temperatures in and around rooms can go a long way toward mitigating the negative impact of extreme heat. If the heat outside bothers you, try to stay in cooler temperatures indoors and go out only when urgent. Try to maintain a cool environment indoors with the help of equipment such as air conditioners.

5. Ensure adequate fluid intake

Staying hydrated and well-nourished can help regulate physical comfort and energy. A common physiological effect of rising temperatures is water loss due to increased transpiration. So, to compensate for that water loss, drink more fluid every day during those months.

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6. Pay attention to what you use

Some fabric materials help regulate body temperature better than others. Use breathable and light fabrics such as cotton or muslin that ensure air movement. Also, if you go out, make sure you wear clothing that covers your body to avoid getting skin problems that can also cause anxiety.



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