Do You Have the Summertime Blues?

Young-Man-on-DockSummer is in full swing, and your schedule is packed with pool parties, barbeques, ballgames and more.

Everyone around you seems more positive and energetic — except you.

Regardless of the season, depression can make the whole world dark and gray. Clinical depression can impair your ability to sleep, eat, work and get along with others. It also can damage self-esteem, self-confidence and your ability to accomplish everyday tasks.

Depression is more than a low mood; it can be a serious illness.

“Summertime can be a difficult time for people,” said Shelly Bahlow, a therapist at Mental Health Centers of Central Illinois. “People generally associate Seasonal Affective Disorder with winter, but it can occur in summer as well. During summer, people sometimes have disrupted schedules with children being out of school and summer vacations. Also, the amount of daylight lengthening can disrupt a person’s sleep. People also struggle with body image issues as the heat increases and the shorts and bathing suits season hits. The heat can be oppressive as well, keeping people in doors and isolated.”

Bahlow recommends the following tips to help keep summer depression at bay:

  • Work to keep a regular sleep schedule
  • Get regular exercise
  • Plan and schedule activities ahead of time
  • Make time for “me-time” during busy summer schedules as well as time for socializing

If you are feeling low this summer, take advantage of Mental Health Centers of Central Illinois’ online screening tool. This short assessment is anonymous and asks a series of questions about your mood.