Summer SAD? It seems that summer is here. We’ve had a lot of glorious sunshine with little rain at all for a while and lighter evenings.
When I start to think about summer generally, I have a number of loosely connected thoughts
- Will we have a real summer? Endless dry sunny days with a hosepipe ban?!
- If I bring the barbecue outside will it jinx the weather? Like it did last year and it wasn’t lit once due to incessant rain, sorry neighbours
- Will the sun make us all feel happier?
That last question seems to be the big one for a lot of us.
Happiness and sunshine just seem to go together. Walking down the road or through the park, when it’s sunny there seems to be more people smiling and everything just seems better.
There have been countless studies and years of research into how weather affects us and the results aren’t necessarily what we’d imagine.
“Humidity, temperature, and hours of sunshine had the greatest effect on mood…….As the number of hours of sunshine increased, optimism scores also increased’ Howard and Hoffman(1984)
And yet… Summer, not just in Bolton, isn’t necessarily the happiest time of the year, you can find yourself summer SAD.
According to one study, if the weather is too warm and humid, people suffer from lethargy, low mood and a lack of affection whilst levels of violence and aggression rise.
Researchers argue back and forth that summer is or isn’t a happy season.
What we do know is that the weather has been proven to affect people’s moods and emotions. Just how much it affects us varies from person to person. The time of year and amount of available daylight is not significant.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a very real condition characterised by feelings of sadness, depression and negative thoughts.
SAD isn’t, as is usually believed, specific to the winter months when temperatures drop and the days shorten. Some people, although a minority, experience SAD during Spring and Summer months too.
It’s helpful to remember that even if the weather doesn’t go according to plan – I can’t remember when we last had a white Christmas, can you? – WE can be adaptable and change our plans rather than let the lack of sunshine ruin our day.
Help for seasonal affective disorder, depression, low mood or anxiety is here for you all year round, so don’t suffer in silence or feel like you’re alone or you ‘should’ be happy when you’re not.
If you’re summer SAD, contact me here for further help or advice on any of the issues mentioned in this blog.
Oh, and if you fire up the barbecue this summer, maybe turn the oven on too, just in case.