Did you know there is something called a seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, which affects about 5% of the U.S. population? SAD typically causes depression as the days get shorter and colder, but about 10% of people with SAD get it in the reverse with the onset of summer. Personally, I've experienced this in the frigid winters of New York, but never imagined having similar symptoms in the summer. Summer months generally indicate pool parties, long weekends, vacations and wicked tan lines. If you live in South Florida, you may even spend your days out on the water or by the beach. So, why on earth would one feel depressed during this awesome time of year? The longer days, rising temperatures and humidity may play a role. Not to mention those afternoon summer showers that make you want to cuddle up on your couch and cancel all your plans.
Here are a few tips to turning that frown upside down:
Stick to a schedule. During summer months, routine sometimes can go out the window and this can be very stressful for some people. Vacations can also disrupt your work, sleep and eating habits which can all result in feeling depressed. Getting back into that routine can also be a struggle, but there is no better time than NOW to start. Don't wait for a Monday or continue to make excuses as to why it's not going to work. Just begin. We've made it our job at Rise31 to have tons of themed rides and events in the studio all summer long to keep our members engaged and coming back even when they fall out of their routine. We all do it. It's part of life. Remember that each day is a new day and a fresh start to begin again.
Love the skin you're in. Summertime means less clothing, especially for us Floridians. It's too damn hot here to be in anything more than a tank top and shorts and this can cause body image issues for a lot of people. Feeling embarrassed to be in a bathing suit all summer can make life awkward and HOT. Most summer gatherings involve a pool, the beach or some water activity outdoors, so avoiding these summertime socials to avoid embarrassment is just silly. Ultimately, if you're feeling judged, especially by your appearance, you'll want to first take a look within to see who's actually doing the judging. If you're okay with where you're at, then the opinions of others shouldn't matter. Starting your day off with a high-energy cycle class or In-Trinity flow will surely boost your mood and have you feeling confident to take on anything your day has in store for you. We have classes starting as early as 5:30am, so you have NO excuse! We can even whip you up a yummy smoothie on your way out.
Plan ahead. Anyone else have "myfundsarelow" this summer? I took 2 trips this summer and I am still recovering financially. Summertime can be very expensive if you don't plan ahead and it is no fun missing out on stuff because you're strapped for cash.
Sleep. While the sun may be out longer in the summer, that doesn't mean you need to be. Make sure you're getting an efficient amount of sleep as sleep deprivation is a common trigger for depression and anxiety.
Hydrate. It's HOT out there y'all. Take it from someone who has been hospitalized for dehydration. It is not fun and it is serious. If you are well hydrated, you'll also have regulated energy throughout the day, less cravings and your body will thank you as it performs better when it's not thirsty all the time. You'll avoid feeling sluggish and reaching for those unnecessary, sugary foods. Your workouts will be at a higher level and ultimately you'll be a happier you. One thing I do EVERY morning is drink 16oz of water before I put anything else in my body. We wake up dehydrated and most people reach for coffee first thing in the morning which can then dehydrate you even more. Drink water first, then you can caffeinate yourself. You may actually find that water will wake you up and give you that boost you need and you may end up skipping that morning cup of joe.
Hang in there my friends. Try to enjoy what's left of summer and be present with whatever feelings and emotions you are dealing with this season. Remember you're never alone and talking about it with friends and family is FREE therapy. Sometimes, it only takes one conversation to pull you out of your slump. Talk to anyone that will listen and don't beat yourself up about it.
7 days a week, we are here for you at Rise31. Come sweat it out on a bike or exhale what no longer serves you on a yoga mat. Maybe you want to enjoy a smoothie or cold brew on our cozy couches outside. Don't worry. They are covered and in the shade. Whatever you choose, our space is your space.