When it comes to summertime, many people are stocking up on sunscreen, making plans to take trips to the beach or lake, or to just spend a lot more time outdoors. However, that is not the case with everyone. Some individuals are planning to shut out the sunshine entirely. If you are one of those individuals who dread the summer and stay cooped up inside away from the sunshine, you could be suffering from reverse seasonal affective disorder.
Most people have heard about seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, which is also known as the winter blues. About 4% to 6% of the United States population experience SAD. However, many have never known about reverse seasonal affective disorder.
Whereas SAD leads to too much sleep and an increase in appetite, SAD summer symptoms are slightly different. They include:
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Difficult concentrating
What Causes Summer SAD?
You may be asking yourself, what exactly causes reverse seasonal affective disorder? It is unknown what the main cause of summer SAD is; however, the most reasonable explanation is the association the effect light has on specific processes in your body.
If you believe you suffer from summer SAD, try the following manageable tips to overcome your symptoms.
- Prioritize your sleep
To make sure you keep your normal sleep schedule year-round, avoid the sun once it gets later in the day, take advantage of blackout curtains, and keep your bedroom cool. This will help your brain to produce more melatonin in the evening, which will help you get a good night’s sleep.
- Protect your eyes
When you wear sunglasses, you are shielding your eyes from harmful UVA and UVB light. Sunglasses also help fight the symptoms of summer SAD by filtering light from your eyes, just like blackout curtains. The optic nerves in your eyes send a signal to your master body clock. If your eyes get too much sunlight during the day, then the melatonin production will not kick in so you can fall asleep fast at night.
- Play inside
If you enjoy exercising outside during the cooler, dimmer months, then try taking your aerobic activities indoors, even if it’s only for a short amount of time. There is no reason you can’t still enjoy that high you feel after running. When you exercise, your body increases the amount of serotonin and norepinephrine that is produced. These neurotransmitters release those feel-good signals throughout your body to deal with the physical stress of exercise.
- Make nutrient dense meals
Sugar is a culprit for depression symptoms. In order to keep a healthy, happy mood, keep the idea of the rainbow in your mind. Choosing a variety of colors and flavors from real, whole foods will guarantee you are eating enough nutrients, especially omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA. Some examples include fatty fish, walnuts, and chia seeds.
- Drink water
It is always a good idea to keep hydrated and cool during the summer in order to prevent heat exhaustion and electrolyte imbalance. If you suffer from summer SAD, then it is even more important to make sure you are drinking enough water. When you stay hydrated, you will maintain a lower body temperature and motivate the cooler, happier months. If you do not enjoy plain water, try adding fresh fruit and vegetables, such as lemon, berries, and cucumbers.
- Spend time with someone
During the summertime heat, you can easily find your inside and by yourself, which can make depression worse. As soon as you feel awake and ready to face the day, go to a friend’s house, a local coffee shop, or some place you can meet up with others. The simple fact of seeing and interacting with others can greatly improve your mood.
- Talk to a professional
Just like any other health concern, it is important for you to speak to a mental health professional if you suffer from summer SAD. By visiting a mental health professional, he or she can help come up with a treatment plan to fight the symptoms. The earlier you begin treatment, the better and more effective it will be.
If you are experiencing the symptoms of summer SAD, give these tips a try. However, if you are looking for a more long-term solution, consider transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). Participating in TMS is a small investment that results in big, mental health rewards. To find out more about TMS and what it can do for you, call GatewayTMS at (314) 909-8487. Our professional staff members would be happy to assist you with any questions you might have.