Facebook Pixel

8 Ways to Enjoy the Summer Despite Having Depression

By HERWriter
Rate This
Depression related image Photo: Getty Images

Winter is known for dampening spirits, so summer can be a time to rejoice for people with depression. I’ve always noticed that during the winter, my depression deepens, but it is important to note that not everyone with depression feels relief in the summer.

Some have summer depression because of "reverse" seasonal affective disorder, or just have an ongoing depression that isn’t relieved during the summer. An older New York Times article stated that people with summer depression tend to experience symptoms of “agitation, loss of appetite, insomnia and, in extreme cases, increased suicidal fantasies.” Their winter counterparts are generally more tired, “crave carbohydrates, gain weight and sleep excessively.” If you think you could have summer depression, talk to a mental health professional.

Despite the possibility of summer depression, my suggestions can hopefully help everyone have something to look forward to in these hotter months, including people with depression.

1) For students with depression, summer might be a break from the workload. Take pleasure in a week or so off, but don’t get too comfortable. For me, breaks were almost deadly at times. This is because I had more time to brood and consider negative thoughts. Also, sleeping excessively in that extra time can become a bad habit and actually drain energy instead of make up for the previous sleepless nights. Make sure to set some goals you want to accomplish this summer and use time wisely while also relaxing. One possible goal is getting healthy again and exercising daily (especially if this wasn’t possible during the school year). If possible, get a summer job so you have a distraction – make it part-time if you need the extra time to relax.

2) Make plans with friends. Some might be more available than usual, especially if they are students. Even if you are all working, summer is the time when more fun opportunities open up, like water parks, tubing, camping and swimming in lakes. Plan one of these activities in a group so you have something to look forward to during the summer. A planned activity during the summer might even remind you of summer as a child or as a student and make you feel more youthful in some ways--you never know. Also, socializing with others is one way to help combat depression.

3) Spend time outdoors and take advantage of the sunlight and hopefully gorgeous weather. If you’re stuck in Arizona like I am, maybe only a few weeks will be nice. However, in most places summer is a desirable time that is preferred over the cold winter months. Appreciate the summer weather by doing activities outside that you would regularly work on inside. For example, sit on your porch or patio (if you have one) and read, knit, talk on the phone, work on a crossword puzzle, or whatever it is. Even go so far as to explore nature during the summer by walking through your nearest park, or even venturing out to a national park or forest. If you’re lucky, you might even spot some wildlife if you go to a more deserted park or forest. Being one with nature and thinking of it in a positive light can only help your depression.

4) Take advantage of activities you can’t do in the winter. For example, go to water parks, go tubing, swimming, and just be outdoors in general (if you’re from a state or country that has a lot of snow during the winter). If you’re suffering from a really hot summer, engage in activities that will cool you off. The New York Times article suggested that heat sensitivity could lead to summer depression, so always pay attention to your body’s needs.

5) Think of the positive effects of the sun. There is always a focus on skin cancer, but some sun is good for everyone. Just make sure if you’re out in the sun for longer periods of time that you wear sunscreen, and don't obsess over tanning. Your skin is the color it was meant to be, and it's beautiful.

6) Curl up with a good book by the poolside in your downtime. If you’re lucky, you can curl up with that book on the beach. Either way, this is a perfect way to relax during the summer, escape real life for a few hours, and stimulate your brain all at the same time. Nothing is better than an engrossing novel and fun in the sun and water. Bring a girl friend along with you so you can talk about your novels, about life in general, and have a swimming buddy. Or have fun with your alone time; either way is fine.

7) Romance is not for everyone, but summer flings (or finding someone long-term) can be a rewarding distraction. Decide what you want beforehand, and then enjoy yourself with whoever you end up finding. Love can hurt, and depression probably doesn’t help the recovery process. But you don’t necessarily have to be in love. Sometimes you just have to enjoy yourself, and feel good about that. Or, just to be safe, you could enjoy some summer romance by reading a steamy romance novel or watching a movie.

8) Feel sexy and free by showing more skin during the summer. This is the chance to wear shorts, sandals and cute summer dresses and bathing suits. There are even special summer sales at many clothing stores that you can take advantage of. If that makes you more depressed because you’re concerned with your appearance, read my upcoming article about how to love your body more. You can also use the summer to engage in more physical activity if you feel the need to tone up for the dreaded bathing suit. Just remember, wearing a bathing suit doesn’t need to be a scary thing if you work on your confidence and realize that you are beautiful in your current shape. People will respect you for not caring if you’re a supermodel size and enjoying your time no matter what in the pool.


Reviewed May 25, 2011
Edited by Alison Stanton

Add a Comment1 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

Diet plays a huge role in your overall well being – there are no two ways about it, being overweight can seriously disrupt your sleep or cause depression. These symptoms are all interconnected. If you suffer from obesity, you might want to start by addressing that issue as the main cause of your sleeplessness. Aside from the problems with being overweight, there are definitely foods that you want to avoid before bedtime as well as foods that can aid in sleep. You can find loads of sleeping tips in the ebook Get To Sleep Now! at http://instantlyfallasleep.com . Fatty foods, for example, require a lot of stomach work to digest and can keep you awake at night. In addition, spicy or acidic foods eaten during the evening can cause stomach issues and possibly heartburn at night.
Sleep inducive foods that you should include in your daily diet include those that are magnesium-rich like:
♣ dark green leafy vegetables, legumes, almonds, cashews, real molasses
Other foods that may help to promote a healthy sleep:
♣ halibut, pumpkin, artichokes, avocados, almonds, eggs, bok choy, peaches, walnuts, apricots, oats, asparagus, potatoes, buckwheat, bananas

May 29, 2011 - 12:04am
Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy
Add a Comment

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


Get Email Updates

Related Checklists

Depression Guide

HERWriter Guide

Have a question? We're here to help. Ask the Community.


Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!