Many people wait excitedly for summer to come and all of the fun activities, warmer weather, longer days, and sunshine that it brings. But for many this wanted change can also bring changes in their mood and mental health.
Weather can definitely have an effect on our moods and how we feel. Weather conditions can determine many of the activities we chose to do and how our bodies adjust to the weather will dictate our ability to participate and enjoy these activities.
One of the reasons experts believe that weather can affect our physical bodies is that the weather disrupts our circadian rhythms causing our bodies to feel a need to adjust. Depending on the weather, the needs will be different.
Many of the best things about summer can also cause our bodies and mood to struggle. Some of those physical changes are:
- Disturbed sleeping patterns due to the increased daylight and heat
- Poor appetite
- Possible weight loss due to poor appetite
- Not being able to get or stay cool due to the increased heat
- Body working overtime trying to keep internal body temperature regulated
Emotions and Mood.
Summertime heat can cause an increase in changes in emotions and mood:
- Feeling more anxious
- Feeling irritable
- Feeling less patient
- Feeling more stressed
- Feeling angry
- Temper flaring more
- Being more aggressive than normal
- Possibly becoming violent
- Emotions feeling out of control
Mental Health Disorders.
If someone is struggling with certain types of mental health disorders these changes can trigger more severe reactions and symptoms such as:
- Too much energy
- Little need for sleep
- Racing thoughts
- Increased heart rate and breathing difficulty
- Starting large projects that they normally would not start
- Over ambitious in goals
For some these changes can be severe and they may be struggling with a disorder called SAD which means Seasonal Affective Disorder. SAD is known to be more of a problem in the winter but can also affect many during the summer months.
Winter SAD is most commonly known as the winter blues. For many they may feel:
- Sad but not sure why
- Mood is down
- Sleeping too much
- Low energy
- Not excited to so much
- Increased appetite especially craving sugar and carbs
Summer SAD many have some of these symptoms:
- Sleep is disturbed. Cannot get comfortable, too hot, and restless sleep
- Poor appetite
- Feel hot all the time and just cannot get cooled off
- Body is physically struggling to cool itself down
There are some lifestyle activities that may be able to help with keeping our mood good despite the changing weather. Some suggestions are:
Starting a new exercise program or maintaining the one you have is a great way of coping and continuing to get the great benefits that exercise brings. Depending on the type of exercise you like you may need to modify how you exercise. If you love to walk and it is too hot outside, then maybe try the mall or an indoor walking track. Do not give up because the weather is making it too hard, find a good alternative and keep moving.
Despite the weather conditions, continue to schedule and meet with friends and family. Stay engaged and involved in activities you enjoy. If needed modify how you spend time together. Maybe it is too hot or stormy for a picnic, meet at someone’s house or on their porch. Be flexible with the how you meet and continue to pursue and deepen those relationships and social activities.
Our bodies need the sun and the natural vitamin D that it provides. If the increasing heat is a problem for you, make it a priority to get out in the sun first thing or later in the evening before the sun begins to set. Feeling the warm of the sun and those rays have wonderful benefits to our bodies and mood.
Continue to make time for self-care and the activities that you love. This is a needed part of every person’s life! Try new things to see what helps you to feel better. Maybe summer or winter brings activities that you love or help you to relax, but sure to include those in your schedule. Always keep a few favorites ready to use too that you know speak to your soul and help you to relax. Have a good book ready to read, your favorite candle or bath salts, favorite show saved or movie ready to watch. Investing in yourself and your own care is so crucial.
While these lifestyle helps can be beneficial you may want to talk to someone about how you are feeling with these weather changes. If you feel your physical, emotional and mood changes are causing you to struggle, please reach out to our therapists. They would love to help you better understand these changes and work with you to develop tools to help you cope with these changes. For more information, please contact us https://upstaterestorativecounseling.com/depression/