7 Ways To Overcome The End-Of-Summer Blues
For tens of thousands of Americans, seasonal affective disorder is a real fear as summer ends and winter whispers in the air.
1. Plan trips in September and October.
Flights are cheaper, hotel rooms are cheaper, and the airports are not crowded. It’s still pretty warm in a lot of places and since most tourists have settled down it will be so much easier to go see the Mona Lisa. Google Travel is amazing for finding cheap flights.
2. Start buying holiday presents.
The holidays are particularly depressing because of so many layers of family dynamics and tight budget spending. Holidays are expensive! It’s estimated that more than half of retail revenue occurs between November and December. Relieve the pressure in advance so that you’ll have extra money during the holidays to treat yourself.
3. Print photos of your memories.
One thing we all do these days to treat our depression and anxiety is swiping through people’s IG and wondering why you don’t have as much as they do. Here’s a tip - Be old fashioned and PRINT photos. Hang them up. Remind yourself frequently of that funny time at the beach, or when you got lost in Madrid. - Photo prints are much harder to swipe away and forget about them.
4. Go to the gym.
You’ve wanted a summer body every summer for the past 10 years. Start now. Eat healthy. Meal prep. Next summer is going be the summer body you’ve always wanted. Mental health improves with exercise too! At my practice DreamCloud Psychiatry we give our gym passes to go with medication - exercise is key to total health.
5. Don’t isolate.
Its easy to want to stay in on the weekends because friends are all back in school or starting new jobs - Don’t let that be a reason to give up on fun times with friends - make some new ones! I recommend finding local events on Eventbrite and even just going with one friend and see if you can make more. Losing touch with your peers can really impact your seasonal depression. Stay connected.
6. Soak up the sun.
Yes it’s true - Vitamin D is so helpful for your mental health. If you live in a very cloudy wintry city, try UV lighting in the home, or try sitting outside midday for as long as it is warm. People tend to want to stay indoors all winter (with good reason) but finding short ways to connect with the sun makes all the difference.
7. Mental healthcare.
People forget that mental healthcare is not only for severe cases or emergencies. The fall is a great time to become pensive, process things from the year, and find meaning in them. Psychotherapy may be new for a lot of people, but it doesn’t have to be expensive and it doesn’t have to be long-term.
At DreamCloud Psychiatry we treat seasonal depression by trying to put some of the stagnation into motion. Sometimes it requires meds, other times it doable without medication. Seasonal affective disorder is a known diagnosis and treatments are very different based on each person’s history.
But do not take it lightly, there are so many options now including Talkspace, which we love using!
Fall is a good time to make a plan with your therapist to get your through the winter months. Stick to it. Stay busy. And never be afraid to reach out to others who may be feeling the same way.
Where are you going next summer? 😏
Chris Lee PMHNP-BC is a psychiatric nurse practitioner at DreamCloud Psychiatry in Miami Beach.