SAD in the Summer?
Despite all of the amazing opportunity that this summer has brought, I find myself feeling a little down at times. I reflected back that summertime has always been a bit of a challenge for me.
I wondered if there was a summer version of SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder. I looked into it, and sure enough, there is such a thing as Summer SAD, though it is a bit less common than Winter SAD.
Usually SAD is associated with Winter, and the “winter blues”. People with Winter SAD suffer from the shortened daylight and end up with feelings of depression, restlessness and tendencies to over sleep and over eat.
Summer SAD is associated with an aversion to extreme heat and bright sunlight. There are tendencies to hide indoors from the sunlight, and depression triggered by feeling overwhelmed, exhausted and no way to escape the heat.
If you are identifying with the Summer SAD description, fear not. Just because many other people rejoice in the summer sun doesn’t mean that we’re all supposed to. There are some easy ways to implement gentle self-care techniques to help you through it.
If you are a massage therapist or caregiver, you may realize that some of your clients are experiencing Summer SAD. Use these tips to encourage them and help them through their challenges.
First, honor your impulses to avoid the intensity of the mid-day heat and light. You may have a constitution with a lot of Pitta, and you are simply following your body’s wisdom so as not to get over heated and overwhelmed. Plan to enjoy outdoor time in the early morning when the air is crisp and cool, or in the evening when the sun has lowered in the sky. I love being the first one to walk down a trail in the morning, walking through gossamer spider webs here and there that indicate I am the first down that path.
Second, just because it is light all day, know that you do not need to be “on” or “doing stuff” all day long. Make a schedule of when you want to work, be active or be social that meets your needs. For instance, if you are happier and healthier during winter months, identify the routines you’re following then. Maybe you go to bed sort of early, or maybe you are snowed in and thus not interacting with anyone a few days each week or month. Allow yourself those routines even though it is Summer.
Third, if possible create a sanctuary for yourself to enjoy during the hottest part of the day. This could be a space that feels a little dark and cave like, with cooling colors and low stimulation. You don’t need to feel like a vampire hiding from the light. You are more like a seal who has retreated to deeper, cooler waters during the heat of the day.
Cooling foot baths, aromatic spritzers stored in the fridge and cold compresses can turn the hottest part of the day into an enjoyable, nurturing time to practice Self-Care. Click here if you’d like to peruse river island apothecary goods to stock up your Summer Self-Care shelf.
Thanks for reading!