Did you know that your mental health can change with the weather? Are you feeling particularly down, even with warmer temperatures? Are you wondering if there is something wrong with yourself, as your friends enjoy their days and you can’t?
With spring, the expectation is that we feel more uplifted as daylight hours increase and warm temperatures allow us to enjoy the outdoors. But you can experience summer depression, just as others may experience “winter blues”. The cause may not be understood, but it does exist.
Depression can present differently between people, and even for the same person. Sometimes it can be felt as physical symptoms such as trouble sleeping, headache, or stomach issues. It can also be feelings, such as fogginess, sadness, anger, procrastination, or inability to concentrate. Depression can occur anytime and may manifest several times over days. If symptoms of depression interfere with your daily activities, or present for more than two weeks, you should seek the help of a health professional. If it feels just wrong, or you have thoughts of self-harm, seek help, don’t wait for it to go away.
Causes of depression are numerous, perhaps a combination of causes, and often the cause cannot be determined. It could be hormonal, physical, or mental stress that triggers depression. Keeping a diary of when you feel low can help track and perhaps trace a pattern or cause. Depression can be treated successfully, may require a trial of different treatments and options that you can choose. Treatment is personalized, and may or may not require medication.
Depression isn’t just “in your head”, it is serious, can be debilitating and fatal. For infrequent bouts of short-term depression, there are things you can do. Take frequent short breaks to give yourself a rest from the demands of your day. These breaks can range from 1-minute of deep breathing or sip of water to a short walk outside. Breathing deeply might sound too simple, but we do have more shallow breathing when under stress – and your body is happier when properly nourished with oxygen. Staying hydrated also makes your body happy!
Regular exercise and good nutrition are needed for the proper functioning of the mind and body. However, if you do feel depressed, activity and a good meal can be difficult to manage. If this is you, it’s time to seek help without delay.
The right thing to do is to listen to your body and trust yourself. Initiate discussion with a health professional. Your pharmacist is available and may suggest a referral. If you are on medication, the pharmacist can discuss what to expect, and answer your questions. Make sure to ask questions whenever you require clarity or notice something off – pharmacists are easy to access and are just a call away.