It’s hard to imagine anyone not liking summer. The sun is shining, the weather is warm, and the nostalgia caused by media emphasis on the magical birthright of summer is strong. Yet, for a percentage of people, summer is a dreaded time of year much in the same way winter is a dreaded time of year for others. Heat and sunshine are agitators instead of liberators for people who are living with Reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder, the other SAD.
Men who are in the earlier years of their recovery should have a general understanding of seasonal affective disorder for both the winter and the summertime. Recovery feels good once the symptoms of withdrawal have finally disappeared, despite their occasional return during PAWS, post-acute withdrawal syndrome. A sudden change in mood, feeling, energy, and demeanor with the changing of the seasons can be triggering. When everyone else is celebrating summer like its never coming again and you can’t stand one more ounce of sunshine, you are likely to feel out of place. Feelings of depression are uncomfortable because they feel like a direct opposition to how you think you should be feeling, which simply makes the feelings of depression worse.
Tonic by Vice explain that the irritability and agitation caused by high summer temperatures can be signs of seasonal depression. “In the summer, people are more agitated and don’t recognize irritability as depression…” the article explains.
Irritability and agitation are only two of the symptoms for seasonal depression during the summer. Winter SAD tends to inspire weight gain and too much sleep as there are less sunlight hours and more time indoors due to colder weather. People with summertime SAD experience weight loss and sleeplessness all season long. “The weightless typically is due to lack of eating, which means people might feel weak and tired because they have poor nutrition,” the article cites. Chronic sleeplessness leads to stress and inflammation in the body, which can result in both psychological and physical illness later on.
Managing SAD in Summer
Since heat is a primary influencer for summertime SAD, staying cool is important, as is maintaining regular health routines. Exercise is a proven way to reduce the symptoms of depression. During summer heat waves, exercise is less enticing. Early hour workouts are the best way to get in regular exercise while attempting to beat the heat. Throughout the day, stay hydrated and choose foods which don’t require sweats or strain from the body to digest. Keep your room cool with light blocking curtains and a fan, or AC if you have one and can afford to run it. Most importantly, keep your body hydrated with plenty of electrolytes and fluids.
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