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October 9 2023Read more
It’s summertime, the sun is shining, the birds are singing. And for many—life is looking up. But busy social calendars, humid evenings and high pollen counts can trigger summer anxieties for others.
We associate Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) with the gloomy depths of winter. The shortest days of the year. Weeks of heavy rainfall and isolated November nights. It’s understandable how this can trigger depressive symptoms like persistent low mood and feelings of irritability.
But on the flip side of the coin, summer can have just as much of an impact.
So if you’re feeling the effects of summer seasonal affective disorder, you’re not alone. Your feelings are valid. There’s a good reason behind your anxieties. This guide will look at a few of the reasons for this and suggest some things you can do to cope with summer anxiety.
Why is my anxiety worse in the summer?
Busy social schedules
Summer socials, BBQs, holidays, walks, picnics, parties, beaches and pub gardens. The influx of social interaction in our lives can take its toll—especially on people who suffer from social anxiety. Situations like these can trigger worried thoughts, panic attacks and overwhelming fear. So if your social schedule is in overload, keep this in mind. It can dramatically affect your thoughts, moods and emotions. The waves of isolation of the past 16 months have also exaggerated these effects for some people.
Hot, humid temperatures
Many of the symptoms of anxiety can intensify when temperatures start to heat up. Sometimes, the humidity itself can be enough to cause panic attacks, excessive sweating or a pounding heartbeat. And it can often come, with what feels like no rhyme—or reason. That’s not to mention the lack of sleep, dehydration and general ‘brain fog’ that might accompany this. Knock-on effects of this can further impact your mood, motivation and ability to cope with life.
Ways to cope with summer anxiety
Here are some practical steps you can take to cope with the effects of summer anxiety. It might sound simple. But if you can bring these small habits into your daily routine, they really can make a difference.
Keeping it cool
Scout out the shade where you can. Take cold showers. Wear light, cotton clothing. Make keeping it cool a priority while you’re out and about in the summer. The sun can wear us out and make us tired. And when we’re tired—we can be more susceptible to the effects of anxiety. Open windows where possible and make a conscious effort to keep rooms ventilated. Stay hydrated. When your body temperature stays in a normal range, you’ll feel calmer and more in control. So it should be a priority.
Breathe in. And out. We do it every day. But rarely do we pay attention to it. One of the symptoms of anxiety can be shallow breathing or shortness of breath. A simple thing you can do to help is consciously focusing on your in-breath and your out-breath. You can try extending your breath or practise breathing exercises to reduce anxiety. If you’re starting to feel hot or worked up before a social event, this can be a great tool to calm your nerves. Drop your shoulders. Relax your muscles. Take a deep breath. This will slow your heart rate down. Helping you to stay calm, when your summer anxiety flares up.
Schedule self-care time
There are only so many hours in the day. Overloading your schedule can lead to burnout. Burnout can leave you feeling exhausted and unable to meet the demands of daily life. Scheduling time for you to relax can help to calm a busy mind. Do something you enjoy. Spend time in nature. Cook yourself a meal you love. That dedicated self-care space can give you a chance to unwind. If you do suffer from anxiety, it can help to ground you when the world feels like a lot.
Know when to reach out for help
The grips of anxiety can feel crippling and it can have a huge impact on your day-to-day life. If you’re struggling to cope with things you normally enjoy, feeling down for long periods or find it difficult to relate to others—know that it’s ok to reach out for help. Talk to someone you care about. Tell them how you feel. There are plenty of services, charities and self-help materials that can support you during this time. You can find more advice in our article: managing anxiety.
If you would like to find out more information on any of the topics mentioned in this article, please contact Health Assured on:
UK: 0844 891 0357
ROI: 01 886 0324
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