Summertime SADness

The sun is out againIMG_0449 and the seasons are changing…which brings about one of my yearly confessions: I completely dislike the sun.  This confession is not typically a popular one and it often receives scoffs, judgment and disbelief.  Other people really like the sun apparently.  But alas, I am not one of them…and I’ve discovered that I’m not alone.

Yes, I have fair skin and tend to burn as soon as I step outside into the sun.  Yes, I am also allergic to the outside world in the spring – woes which are only heightened on a sunny day.  But no, those aren’t the only reasons for my aversion to the sunny months (though they are pretty good reasons, in my opinion).  I’ve noticed that, during the spring and summer months, I tend to be much more lethargic, grumpy, and unmotivated.  I can’t seem to focus on complex tasks as well and I often find myself in a general state of…blah.  For a couple of years, I jokingly called it my Reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder and last year I discovered that Reverse SAD is actually a thing.

More often referred to as Summer SAD in the research, it is the counterpart to what we usually understand as SAD (or Winter SAD).  Put simply, SAD is an affliction that leads to certain people feeling much more depressed, lethargic and unmotivated during the bleak, grey months of winter.  Many people are familiar with this diagnosis and even popular media has jumped on the bandwagon of encouraging people to pay attention to their winter feelings.  Summer SAD tends to get missed though.  It also is less represented in research, so I suppose it is still being all figured out.  But Summer SAD seems to most often be characterized as feeling depressed, lethargic and unmotivated in the bright, sunny months of spring and summer.  Could it be linked to allergies?  Maybe.  Could it be linked to financial stress of the summer months?  Perhaps.  Are there any definite cause/effect answers yet?  Nope.  Much more research needs to be done.

My curious question for the week is this: do you ever suffer from symptoms that could be associated with Summer SAD?  If so, how do you take care of yourself and cope during those long sunny months?  I find myself coping by using strategies like allowing myself much more time to sleep, breaking all tasks into small manageable steps, and accepting that my productive hours of the day will be later at night when the sun disappears.  Lots of self-kindness and self-understanding comes into play for me.  What works for you?

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