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Feeling the Summer Blues and How to Cope

Experiencing the blues over the summer may be surprising to hear, but it does happen to many of us.  Here will will explore some reasons why you may be feeling blue and what you can do to cope.

Blame the blues on the extra daylight

Some people experience Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) during the summer.  While most of the time, SAD affects more people during the winter, it can also happen in the summer too.

With the longer days in the summer, it is natural to go to bed later and wake up earlier.

This is because it is hard to go to sleep when the sun is still out.  The early sunlight coming into your room also does not help with sleeping in.

In other words, experiencing longer days makes us want to be social, active and stay up late.  While trying to make the most out of each day with the longer days sounds like a great idea, in the long run it will cost you.

Late nights and early mornings can catch up with you where you feel tired, moody and blue.

Additionally, inconsistent sleep hours throws off your sleep schedule and creates more cortisol (stress hormone) production.  When cortisol is high, this causes us to feel more emotional and irritable.

Solutions

Some possible solutions to this would be to stick with a regular sleep schedule.  I know this is not what you want to hear, but it really helps.  You can also purchase black-out curtains to fully block out sunlight from coming into your bedroom.   This was a method I used in college because my bedroom had a large window facing west, so the sun would come in very early in the morning.  Once I put these black out curtains up, my sleep improved significantly and I felt better.

High expectations cause the blues

You work hard throughout the year and summer is the time to go out, have fun and enjoy life.  You have road trips planned, vacations with the family and other social events in mind.  But sometimes those over-ambitious plans just don’t work out.

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When high expectations about summer plans don’t pan out, it can leave you feeling blue and disappointed.

Solutions

Set realistic expectations.  You already know that you will have to work this summer and that there will be some scheduling to consider.  So take an inventory of the responsibilities you will have to manage and then see what free time is available for fun and travel.

Setting up a realistic picture of what is possible and how best to manage your time, will help you get a better idea of what your summer will look like.

This also will help you to really enjoy the moments you will have when fun, travel and quality family time takes place.

The social media trap and the blues

It is easy to fall into this trap of feeling blue because of what others are posting on their Facebook pages.  They only seem to post the fun stuff like the parties, vacations and celebrations.  Seeing this frequently online leaves you with a skewed perception of what their summer experience is like.

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The truth however, is that people only post what they want you to see.

They only share the highlights and give their social media friends a narrow piece of a much more comprehensive picture of life’s highs and lows.

Solutions

So just remind yourself that social media does not accurately reflect a person’s life.  This should help you to offset any feelings of sadness that might be triggered by seeing all these social media posts.  And if you are still feeling blue when seeing what others are posting, then it might be time to be less active online.  Getting offline and unplugged can help you focus your energy on friends and family with person to person contact.

Too much down time feeds the blues

Maybe you are finding you have a lot more free time this summer and you don’t know what to do with yourself.  You are starting to get bored and sucked into unproductive days, leaving you feeling blue and in a rut.

Solutions

Setting up a schedule to go out, exercise, spend time with friends and make plans with family can help you get out of that place of boredom and summertime blues.  Think of the activities and people who bring you joy and then see what you can do to add more of that into your life.

Also getting out and involved in your community through volunteering, or working part-time can help you to feel like you are contributing in a meaningful way that is being appreciated and valued by others.

Money concerns makes you feel blue

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It could also be that trying to make plans this summer has been difficult with increasing costs and living expenses.  The price for hotel stays and flights seem to continue to rise, leaving you feeling stressed about how you will be able to afford summer travel.

Seeing and hearing about the summer plans of friends and family can also add to the stress because you are seeing and hearing about their adventures while yours might be more basic.

Solutions

Don’t get hung up on what others are doing.

Everyone has a different money story and perhaps your friends, who are going on a lavish trip this summer, saved up for years to be able to afford it now.

summer blues daniela paoloneIt is also important to acknowledge how you feel and to keep things in perspective.  While you might not be going on extravagant trips this summer, what plans are in the works for you?  What plans have you prioritized as meaningful for you and your family that you can afford?  Focusing your attention on the plans which hold the most meaning can help offset sad feelings you may be experiencing.

It is not so much about the travel plans, and is more about the people you are with and the memories you share.

Hopefully, exploring these different reasons has given you deeper insights into why you may be feeling blue.  It is okay to feel the way that we feel and with a little help; we can learn how best to cope.

Daniela Paolone

Daniela Paolone

Daniela Paolone LMFT is a Marriage and Family Therapist and founder of Westlake Village Counseling in Westlake Village, California. She helps those working through pain, illness, depression and anxiety either in the office or through online counseling which is done using a secure platform to ensure client confidentiality. Using education, helpful resources, unconditional support and understanding, she strives to help people transform their pain into power so that they can live their best lives! For more information please visit the homepage

1 Comment

  1. Dalila on October 12, 2017 at 6:11 am

    This is very specific for summer in terms of why people feel down., but solutions can be applied to other times of year blues. Thank you!

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