It’s pretty common to feel excited about summer. The dull and drab feelings associated with the chill of winter are out, and warm feelings are the new normal. But what happens when the winter blues decide to stay? Summer doesn’t always feel like rainbows and butterflies. Take a moment to examine why you may be experiencing the summertime blues.
Summer is the most treasured part of the year when you’re a kid because school is over. The weather is warm, no responsibilities, and the possibilities and free time are endless. As you grow older, the lines blur as you start working and having other commitments. But summer’s allure doesn’t fade. You might have fewer chances to enjoy it.
People often expect winter depression to end when summer starts, but it can leave you feeling worse when it doesn’t. This is a common reason individuals tend to seek mental health treatment at this time. You’re not alone if this is something you experience, and it can be managed with some help or personal effort.
2. Altered Day/Night Hours
More daylight after work can be a boon for your schedule but can also provide pressure to do more. After experiencing shorter days throughout the winter, it can be a shock to see the sun longer as summer approaches. The difference in duration can be as long as four extra hours in the continental United States! Maybe you used the early sunset to wind down, and it’s harder to do that as the days get longer.
The changes in the sun’s shining have also been proven to have a marked effect on an individual’s biological clock. People usually stay out later in the summer, but extra light won’t help you sleep even if you don’t. Society’s schedule doesn’t shift too much with the sun. Therefore it’s harder to get a full night’s sleep. It’s natural for the light changes to have this effect, so don’t fret — just let yourself sleep in more.
3. Poor Work Benefits
Time off work isn’t any easier to get during the summer than any other time if your job isn’t seasonal. And that means you can’t go out and enjoy some extra free time like others might. Your need for a job is likely the primary reason you don’t have the freedom you did as a kid. It can become intrusive if you are needed or forced to work outside regular hours.
The daily grind is difficult during any season, but winter and summer can bring you down in that regard. Winter can make you feel cooped up, but summer can surprisingly have a similar effect. When you have to spend all of your time working, the outside feels ever more enticing. It may be worth discussing with your superiors because if you can rest more, your work can also benefit.
4. Less-Predictable Routine
On a personal comfort level, summertime will likely throw a wrench in your routine. More events and outdoor activities mean less time doing your regular thing. This can be particularly difficult for neurodivergent people, such as those with autism or OCD. If you consider yourself to be routine-oriented and get stressed when it is disrupted, then you surely know the feeling.
Routines become even more complicated if you have children because of the change in the schedule during the school year. The program isn’t the same as a school day, even if your children have camp. Weekends may be dedicated to activities rather than relaxation, putting you without any recharged energy on Monday. Once school ends, you suddenly have them all day, every day — and need to focus more on their wellbeing.
5. Unrealistic Lives of Others on Social Media
For some, nothing is as much a cause of depression as social media’s effect on their self-worth. Social media has become a foundational aspect of socialization in recent years, but inflated mental health issues come with it. Almost everyone tries to look their best in each post or demonstrate an exciting life to others. These posts are just momentary snapshots, but their very nature draws comparison — even if it isn’t valid.
Everybody lives differently, and nobody is constantly feeling or looking at how they do in their posts. However, when that’s all you see online, you’re naturally going to believe that, at least subconsciously, to be the case. Don’t compare yourself to others online because putting your nuanced self-perspective against someone else’s curated persona is unfair. Just do your best to enjoy things how you want them, and stay confident that you know what you need.
Don’t feel bad if summertime brings you down while others seem happy. Emotions are different and equally valid for everybody, no matter how it manifests. The most important thing is to be patient with yourself once you know what’s making you sad. Your emotions won’t last forever, and getting help and addressing the underlying issues can help you feel better.