Beating the Summertime Blues

Sometimes I wonder what I’m a-gonna to do
‘Cause there ain’t no cure for the summertime blues.

In 1959, Eddie Cochran penned and performed this catchy song. Little did he likely realize he had coined a phrase describing a real mental/emotional issue. Known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), this form of depression is usually associated with winter, but approximately 10-30% of people are affected during warmer months – the “summertime blues.”

It is uncertain as to why this seasonal reversal happens, but there could be several contributing factors such as:

  • Abrupt schedule changes with less structure
  • Uncomfortable heat/humidity
  • Absence of friends and family due to vacations
  • Changes in brain chemistry
  • Cultural pressure to feel light-hearted and happy
  • Negative body image issues due to more skin exposure or bathing suit requirements
  • Sleep pattern disruption from longer days and shorter nights

No matter the exact reasons, feelings of sadness in the summer do happen. Consider these helpful tips towards addressing and combatting them:

  • Establish a summer routine as best you can. Accept that it may undergo additional changes, and that is OK.
  • Incorporate exercise in your day, even if it is gentle, like stretching or chair movement.
  • Get enough sleep. If possible, keep the same bedtime schedule. Allow yourself time to wind down, even if it is light outside, or consider using a sleep mask. You also can try earplugs if your neighborhood is noisy or other family members are still up and active.
  • Stay hydrated. Water is often overlooked as a factor of fatigue and negative emotions. Try keeping a glass by the sink or a water bottle in the car or carry one with you while going about your day.
  • Choose healthy foods that will nourish and feel good in your body.
  • Keep a tab on how much you are isolated. Try to engage in activities with others – some specific suggestions below!

    • Protect yourself from heat and glare with sunglasses, hats and lightweight clothing.
    • Be kind to yourself. Identify your triggers and reflect on ways to overcome them.
    • Show yourself compassion and give yourself space to adapt, process and grow.

At Kavod Senior Life, we provide opportunities for both community members and residents alike to stay engaged and protect from depression, SAD or otherwise. These include gathering for healthy meals (once a day in Senior Living, three times a day in Assisted Living), or participating in activities, outdoor gardening, and spiritual programs including mindfulness and coffee chats with our chaplain. Residents can also talk to our staffed Care Coordinators (like social workers) to get additional help and connect with resources. We also have supportive health and wellness classes and services such as yoga, dancing and more. 

If you are struggling with SAD and are local to Denver, we welcome you to Kavod to participate with us and keep yourself emotionally healthy. We hope this information and our resources will help you have an enjoyable, positive summer and chase away those troublesome blues.

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