Summer Blues

Emily Stamp shares her alternative perspective of what many consider to be the best season of the year, providing an insight into her experience with the stress and low mood that summer can provoke.

It is getting warmer and sunnier and you can hear children running around outside. Friends are excited about picnics, walks, beach trips, any excuse to be out in the sun.  Yet some of us choose to be ‘boring’ and stay inside, in the shade, isolated by the weather everyone else enjoys. After all, winter is the time to complain, to discuss getting SAD (seasonal affective disorder) but it is important to note that “seasonal” does not mean winter, it is perfectly viable be affected in summer too (although this is rarer).

The sun brings such exuberance and joy to a majority of the population that very few people are willing to talk about their dislike for it. Yet there are more people than you think. Some individuals are uncomfortable in shorter, more revealing summer clothing. Jumpers and layers are important to a wide variety of people, often due to body issues (more than enough people struggle with not having the coveted ‘summer body’), scars or not wanting to burn. Yet these clothes are too warm for spending a day in the sun, impractical and seen as unnecessary, while being over-heated is tiring in itself. In the summer, you do not even have the option of cuddling up with a cup of tea and blanket indoors to watch a movie. It is not socially acceptable to ‘hide away’ because summer is when people want to go outside and do things - for this reason I dub it “the extrovert season.”

And, because of this increased sociability, people are far more likely to wear themselves out. If nothing else, natural circadian rhythms are disrupted due to increased sunlight causing people to wake earlier and stay up later, which creates sleep deprivation. Even vacation-envy is very real, watching everyone jet off while you are working. Plus, for those with anxiety, the sudden mass of people outside, from kids on school holidays to tourists, can be overwhelming and stressful. Then there are those who suffer through increased migraines and headaches due to the sun. Instead of enjoying the outside it becomes a health hazard and, when resting indoors, even opening a window for fresh air does not help as the loud noise of happy people outside, ice cream vans or a bird chirping is not exactly the most soothing of sounds and can even make symptoms worse.

Everyone is ready and willing to discuss winter blues, how shorter days and the dark get people down. But discussing the sun, due to its joyful connotations, is far more difficult - an untouchable subject. Because, after all, who would dislike such a wonderful thing?