In severe cases, excessive heat can trigger serious illnesses, like dehydration, heat stroke and increased blood pressure. But elevated heat has also been known to influence mental state, triggering depression.
It’s difficult to sleep, you’re fatigued and in a sour mood. How does heat impact depression? Here’s some information and a few tips to help you cope with rising temperatures.
Does Heat Impact Depression?
We’ve all heard of the summertime blues, but there is evidence to support the idea that when the body becomes overheated, depression worsens. High humidity (which often accompanies high temperatures) can leave you groggy, lacking energy and unmotivated. With low energy, productivity suffers, which is discouraging, and a contributing factor to depression.
Summer heat can also trigger depression from not meeting social or financial expectations. For some, hot summer days create anxiety related to body image when attending pool parties or spending time on the beach with friends. Limited finances often unravel travel and vacation plans. And with work and school schedules in flux, hot weather disrupts sleeping and eating habits, adding to mood swings and increasing summer depression.
How to Combat Depression During Summer Heat
For some, basking in the summer sun is enjoyable, but for many others, summer heat can be oppressive. How do you combat increased depression as a result of being overheated? Here are few practical suggestions.
Limit heat exposure by avoiding outdoor activities during peak sun hours.
Stay hydrated with water to reduce risk of dehydration. Steer clear of caffeine and alcohol, which can trigger mood swings.
Seek professional help. If summer heat is taking a toll on your mood and you think it’s a problem, consider reaching out to a professional therapist who can help.
Continue with regular exercise – even if it’s indoors. If you must exercise outdoors, plan for early morning or in the evening when temperatures are lowest.
Give yourself the option to say “no” to social events. Just because you are invited, does not mean you must attend every pool party or beach gathering.
Give yourself a break. Remember that summer should never be stressful. If you’re not interested in traveling this year, consider a “stay-cation” instead.
Get plenty of sleep. With humid temperatures, it can be tough to get adequate rest. Catch up on your z’s with a few extra naps and schedule down time to relax and rejuvenate.
Summer depression isn’t unusual or rare, and the connection between heat and mood is real. For some individuals, hot, sticky air triggers irritability and anxiety, causing frustration and depression. When limited sun exposure, regular exercise and increased sleep don’t seem to help, and mood swings are extreme, consider talking to a professional. Summer seasonal depression is real and getting the help you need and deserve can take the heat off for real.