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Did you know? SAD is most common in countries like the UK where there are large changes in the weather and daylight during the different seasons.

people smiling in the sun

What is summer SAD?

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of mood change that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern. It affects most people in the winter, but for a minority, it can cause summer depression too. This means that for some people, a time of year often associated with sunshine, health and happiness, can be blighted by mood swings and heightened anxiety levels.

Common symptoms of summer SAD can include:

  • A persistent low mood
  • Increased feelings of despair, guilt or worthlessness
  • Changes in weight
  • Increased anxiety
  • Feeling lethargic and sleepy at unusual times
  • Cravings for carbohydrates and sweet foods
  • Loss of pleasure or interest in everyday activities
  • Sleeping for longer than normal and finding it hard to get up in the morning
  • Difficulties in concentration
  • Increased irritability
  • Loss of libido

How to manage summer SAD:

Talk to someone

Whether it’s peer support or professional support, sharing how you feel with someone else can help you to manage negative or spiralling thoughts and emotions.

Learn ways to relax

Find a relaxation technique that works for you – that might be progressive muscle relaxation, spending time in nature or taking a warm bath.

Get outside

Light therapy, both from the sunlight and light from artificial lamps, can simulate exposure to sunlight and help lift a person’s mood.

Keep a diary

Keeping a log of symptoms can help you to spot patterns in your mood and behaviours. It can also help to identify triggers, which in turn can help you plan how to combat them.

Look after your physical health

Exercise during cooler parts of the day and wind down using movement and relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation or deep breathing. Gentle exercises, like yoga, swimming or walking can be just as beneficial as high impact activities.

Create a sleep action plan

Sleeping too little or too much can be a problem, so think about how your sleeping environment might be impacting you. Use blackout curtains, lighter blankets and have a fan in your room if needed. Create a regular sleep routine that you can stick to – both a routine to wind down and help you get ready for bed, and a routine to help you get up at a regular time in the morning.

Plan ahead

If you notice specific triggers, look at how you can plan around them. Rearrange stressful activities, plan things you enjoy and are relaxing, stock up on items that you might need, and carve out time to rest. Planning ahead can help you feel more in control.

Think about your diet

Eat regularly and be mindful of any cravings that occur. Try to avoid substances such as drugs or alcohol which can make symptoms of mental illness worse.

Reach out to your GP

Your GP can talk to you about management techniques that could help you, such as antidepressants and talking therapy.

The post Summer seasonal affective disorder (SAD): What is it, symptoms and how to manage it appeared first on Vita.

Source: vitahealthgroup.co.uk

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