Seasonal affective disorder in summer: how does it affect the holidays?
This is how seasonal affective disorder in summer prevents us from enjoying the holidays.
The arrival of the summer holidays is one of the most anticipated events of the year by most of the population; a period in which we can rest for a few weeks and recover the energy lost during the months of work. However, there are those who at this time experience emotional disturbances related to that season of the year, something that makes it difficult to fully enjoy those days or weeks free from professional obligations.
This is what happens when what is known as seasonal affective disorder occurs , a psychological phenomenon that, despite manifesting itself more frequently during winter, can also occur during the hot season and the lengthening of the day. Let's see what it consists of.
What is summer seasonal affective disorder?
Some people may find that with the arrival of summer they begin to feel more unmotivated or less energized to do all the summer activities they would like to do, or even experience a feeling of hopelessness and a relative inability to enjoy anything. activity that they usually like and interest. These are typical symptoms of depressive disorders, but in this case it seems that their arrival coincides with the transition from one season of the year to the next, giving rise to the so-called seasonal affective disorder.
Seasonal affective disorder is associated with weather changes, both in hours of light and temperature , that take place with the arrival of the new season, and that if certain circumstances occur, destabilize biorhythms (processes related to a kind of internal clock which depends, among other things, on our level of nervous activity and our predisposition to react more or less intensely to stimuli).
In addition to that, seasonal affective disorder is also associated with changes in life, routine and habits that take place during vacations, both summer and winter; days in which we dedicate more time to leisure, to meeting with friends and family or spending more time without working and, in general, to get rid of the routine.
What is this about? Mood swings at times of rapidly changing average daily temperature and exposure to sunlight do not happen by chance; they take place because in our body there are a series of biological predispositions that lead us to feel and behave in slightly different ways depending on certain environmental variables.
This has its reason for being in biological evolution: the activity of a good part of the animal species changes depending on the season, to adjust to the transformations that take place in the ecosystem, and although these readjustment mechanisms make less sense in some times in which technological development allows us to protect ourselves from cold and heat and lead a very similar lifestyle throughout the year, they are still present in the physiological and neurobiological processes behind our mental activity, operating discreetly and automatically .
Normally, these adjustment mechanisms, based above all on the secretion of hormones, do not cause problems, but sometimes it happens that certain processes become unbalanced and we are more vulnerable to suffering from depressive-type emotional disturbances. We must not forget that the endocrine system is in constant interaction with the nervous system and vice versa, and that many hormones are at the same time neurotransmitters used by the neurons of our brain to communicate with each other.
How does seasonal affective disorder affect vacations?
As has been indicated, this type of seasonal alteration can considerably affect the person's mental health and usually also influences the correct development of both leisure and social activities that take place during summer vacations, thus generating a vicious cycle: depressive symptoms predispose us to adopt a passive attitude and embrace a more sedentary lifestyle, which exposes us less to fun or stimulating activities, which reinforces that low mood.
There are many emotional and physical alterations that take place in people with a seasonal affective disorder in the summer months, and their affectation in daily vacation habits is also usually multiple and varied depending on each person.
1. Loss of self-esteem when comparing ourselves with others
The symptoms that are most commonly associated with the appearance of a seasonal affective disorder during the summer months are those related to depression: sadness, anguish and obsessive thoughts based on guilt and/or shame . These alterations lead us towards a pessimistic confirmation bias: we interpret everything as evidence that we are worthless, that we do not deserve a good vacation, etc.
If we add to this that during the summer holidays many people tend to compare themselves to others, we have the perfect cocktail to get discouraged and suffer from the frustration of not having a good time.
Generalized tiredness is one of the most visible symptoms of seasonal affective disorder and one of those that best help us detect it during the summer months in anyone.
Feeling abnormally tired throughout the day or apathetic, without wanting to do anything, and without suffering from an organic disease that explains it, is one of the unequivocal signs that we may find ourselves facing a case of seasonal affective disorder in summer. And in turn, it leads us to miss out on opportunities to have fun by opening ourselves up to new experiences , those with a greater capacity to be fun because they move away from the routine, but at the same time require more physical activity or mental effort from us to adapt to the novelty
3. Lack of organization
The large amount of free time that we have during the summer months can cause us to have a certain difficulty when it comes to organizing all the activities that we must do during the day. The feeling of having to make many decisions about what to do is often overwhelming for people with seasonal affective disorder.
4. Lack of motivation
The lack of daily motivation and the loss of interest in carrying out any activity during the day can also serve as a sign that something is wrong with us or with a loved one.
Seasonal affective disorder is associated with low levels of motivation to do anything, something that leads us to do over and over again what we have already internalized as routines and that we practically do without thinking, such as staying at home watching television, watching content of social networks without stopping, or simply eating snacks out of sheer boredom, without being really hungry.
5. Mood swings
Sudden irritability, discomfort and mood swings can also be due to the appearance of a seasonal affective disorder, which will decisively affect both the person's mental health and their way of relating to the environment . The latter is very relevant considering that for many people vacations are the time to see friends who live far away, family members, etc.
6. Trouble sleeping
As we have seen, seasonal affective disorder is linked to biorhythms, and the change in the hours of sunlight can trigger significant alterations in this aspect. To this we must add that some people have a very disorganized sleep schedule during the holidays , something that favors the appearance of cases and insomnia and the inability to sleep soundly.