As the colder months begin, seasonal affective disorder (SAD) may occur. If you are feeling depression setting in and it’s still warm outside, you might feel more anxious because the end of summer is supposed to be happy and energetic. However, the onset of a depressive disorder could occur at any point throughout the year, even during the summer.
Perhaps you’re feeling anxious because you dread the oncoming colder months, or it might be because of other reasons directly related to the summertime. Whatever your reasons, what you’re feeling is valid and requires attention before you succumb to the weight of depression. Waiting for feelings to pass can be detrimental to your overall health and recovery from drugs or alcohol. Explore why you might be feeling depressed in the summer and what you can do to overcome these feelings and better prepare yourself to handle the change in seasons.
Acknowledge Your Feelings While Experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Believing that you should feel or react a certain way about summer and feeling a certain way in the summer are two different things. If you have noticed a pattern of becoming depressed or more depressed during the late summer, recognizing its seasonality is the first step to helping you discover the contributing factors that feed your depressive mood. Further, it is important to understand that depression is depression no matter where or when it occurs. A great way to get information regarding your feelings and patterns of feelings is by keeping a journal to track your mood. A journal will help you stay mindful of your emotions and help you notice when your thoughts and behaviors begin to change.
When you are aware of how you feel and when you feel it, you might consider scheduling extra therapy appointments during these times. If you understand that your pattern of depression occurs at the end of summer, start preparing by making more therapy appointments. This will comfort you in knowing that you have the extra support and strategies for success. It is also crucial to understand that your feelings are real and valid, no matter what time of year.
The Idea of Summer and Its Connection to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Summer is a season where many have leftover associations from childhood that might skew the reality of summer. For example, your idea of summer might include feelings of freedom, fun activities and endless days. However, in adulthood, you are required to maintain a schedule, such as working full time and caring for a family. Therefore, having to tend to the responsibilities of adulthood versus the memories of childhood could negatively affect your mood. Influences and ideas of what your summer could be like versus reality can be saddening or stressful. Control what you can control and know that you have the power to create summery memories that make you happy.
If you are pressuring yourself to live up to these “summer” ideas and don’t accomplish them, this could be a driving factor behind your feelings of depression. It can be helpful to consider what your ideal summer should look like and seek others who feel the same. You might prefer sitting in an air-conditioned room and avoiding the hot sun. You might prefer hiking or camping as opposed to cookouts and this is okay. Planning a summer to fit and meet your vision could help alleviate your feelings of sadness when reflecting upon your summer.
Don’t Isolate Yourself While Experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Social contact is essential for your mental health year-round. Becoming lonely can feed on itself and create a hard cycle to break. Even if getting yourself out there is easier said than done, sometimes you have to be the first one to reach out. Maintaining contact with family, friends, peers and professionals is vital for your health and recovery. Social interactions keep you accountable, consistent and help you share your feelings with others.
Alternatively, reaching out to others does not mean that you need to express how you are feeling. Sometimes talking about books or movies can elevate your mood. However, isolating yourself will further amplify negative thoughts and behaviors. Therefore, it is necessary to make it a point to stay in contact with those in your support network.
Know When to Seek Help for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Setting reasonable expectations, tracking your mood and scheduling additional therapy appointments only help when you follow through. It is also important to recognize when what you are doing might not be enough. However, it might be difficult to know when it is time to seek help. One of the sure ways to determine if you need help is when you understand that doing a certain activity will help you feel better, but you’re just not motivated to do it. That is a sign that it is time to talk with a professional. Depression needs addressing as soon as you feel it coming into your life. Don’t set some threshold to bear before you get help because you will only perpetuate your depression. Take action immediately. When you take action and work on eradicating negative thoughts and behaviors, you gain a better understanding of yourself and gain more confidence and resiliency to handle them when they arise. You’ll have strategies for success and be well-equipped for when the winter months arrive.
At New Hope Ranch, just outside Austin, we provide both conventional and alternative treatment to ensure your individual needs get met. Our approach to treatment and therapy provides the necessary tools to help you manage addiction recovery and apply these tools in a real-world setting, particularly if depression is involved. Of course, we remain a pillar of support should you need help at any point in your recovery and help you find 12-step programs in Texas. If you or a loved one is currently struggling with a mental health or substance use disorder, then the time to get help is today. With a provided 24/7 admissions, there is never a wrong time to reach out. To find out more about it, reach out to us at New Hope Ranch in Manor and call (737) 600-8565.