June has arrived. Nice weather, kids excited to be out of school for the summer, everyone is packing up their towels and umbrellas for the beach, and you might not be feeling so great about any of this.
You might feel guilty that while it seems to be the most beautiful time of the year and you “should” be enjoying some fun in the sun, you are instead feeling down and depressed. This can happen for a multitude of reasons and you are not alone! Here is some information about summer depression and what you can do about it.
Causes of Summer Depression
Disrupted Schedules: It is quite easy to stick to a daily routine throughout fall, winter and spring. With the daylight hours extended in the summer, kids home from school and summer vacations disrupting work, sleep and eating habits, being thrown off your schedule during the summer can most definitely have a negative impact on your mental health.
Disrupted Budget: Summer can be expensive! The allure of time spent eating and drinking with friends on a patio on a nice evening in July is strong but the bills can add up. Not to mention summer vacations can be expensive, and if you are planning to send the kids to summer camp or have to pay for childcare, having your budget disrupted can cause extra stress.
Heat: Summers in Ottawa, much like winters in Ottawa, can bring extreme weather that is hard to handle. If you don’t have air conditioning, sleeping can become difficult in the extreme humidity and cooking over a hot stove can be unbearable. If you do have air conditioning, you might find yourself becoming a bit too cozy in the comfort of your cooled living room and could start isolating or avoiding going out into the heat or missing out on activities you used to enjoy that you are no longer engaging in due to the weather.
Body Image: Hot weather and outdoor summer activities often call for more exposing clothing which might have you feeling self-conscious about your body. With social media a major part of our lives, it’s really easy to see pictures of your friends seemingly having a great time in their bathing suits at the beach while you are left feeling down and out by your body. Feeling bad about your body contributes to your mental health and may prevent you from doing activities you could find or used to find to be really fun.
Consistency: Keeping your circadian rhythm in check helps with keeping emotions regulated. Even with extended day light hours, try to keep your sleep schedule consistent throughout the summer. Make use of black out curtains to ward off daylight if needed.
Prepare your wallet: If you know that you will be taking time off work this summer or paying to send the kids to daycare or camp, start preparing by putting a little bit of money away in the early months of the year. This will help lessen your financial strain come summer time and you will be more able to enjoy the summer without worrying about your bank account. Try to pick activities that you know you will enjoy, rather than ones you feel obligated to partake in. You can also make use of less expensive activities like local splash pads to have fun and beat the heat!
Feel good in your skin: Wearing more exposing clothes in the summer can be intimidating but it can also be fun to find new pieces that accentuate the parts of your body that you do like. Summertime clothes are often more colourful and flowing than warmer clothes and for women, a maxi skirt or dress is comfortable, cool and easily hides things you might not want to be seen around the beach!
Get Help: If you feel your summertime blues are worsening or not going away, please contact your doctor for help. The Distress Centre is also available 24/7 and we are more than happy to listen and provide support not only during the summer but all year round!