fbpx Summertime Depression – The “Blues” or Something More?
Authored by Nexus Family Healing on July 27, 2023

Seasonal depression, or SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), is when someone experiences depressive symptoms during cold winter months. Seasonal depression is common in the winter due to less light during the day and it being colder and harder to get out of the house. However, some people experience this in reverse and feel symptoms of depression during the summer and spring time. While fun for some, summer can trigger depressive symptoms or make people feel melancholy due to more events, the heat, lack of consistent schedules, a pressure to have fun, and overwhelming busyness. If it’s the “summertime blues,” many can find ways to get through these feelings or they will pass, but the “blues” may actually be a larger issue. 

What is the difference between “summertime blues” and summer SAD? 

The main difference between the blues and SAD is that the blues is often circumstantial, while summer SAD is caused by the environmental and life changes of the season. For example, “summertime blues” often comes on in the latter part of the summer when a person is feeling sad that summer is coming to an end. The end of summer signifies they have to go back to school, work, or a regular schedule; colder weather, stress of the holidays, and feeling as if they didn’t get enough packed into the summer can bring on feelings of anxiety and depression. 
Summer SAD or “reverse seasonal depression” is brought on due to changes in the weather, the person’s environment, or stress and anxiety around events of the summer. Oftentimes, summer SAD can be tied back to changes in sleep and how the extra daylight changes your habits.

What are the signs and symptoms of summer depression?

The symptoms for summer depression often look like loss of interest in activities that previously brought joy, changes in appetite, trouble sleeping, general feelings of apathy, and mood swings. You may find yourself having a hard time doing daily tasks, getting out of the house, or finding the rhythm of your regular habits and schedule. 

When to seek help

If you find yourself experiencing any of these symptoms and you aren’t sure if it’s just because of summer, give it a few weeks to see if your feelings change. Sometimes, it can be hard to tell if it’s a consistent problem or just an off day. There are lots of events that can trigger “the blues” – try breaking out of those feelings by getting out of the house, going for a walk, recharging in your favorite way, or doing something you love. 

Reflect if these feelings have happened other summers and what may have triggered them. If you feel anxious whenever you think of fall starting, think about why that might be so you can prepare for it. 

However, if your symptoms persist, they may indicate a bigger issue. Seek help from a mental health professional, especially if you have a history of depression. 

Nexus Family Healing is a national nonprofit mental health organization that restores hope for thousands of children and families who come to us for outpatient/community mental health services, foster care and adoption, and residential treatment. For over 50 years, our network of agencies has used innovative, personalized approaches to heal trauma, break cycles of harm, and reshape futures. We believe every child is worth it — and every family matters. Learn more at nexusfamilyhealing.org.