Most people think that winter is the season to feel down. But it might as well be cloudy in your head when the sun is shining outside.
Just because it's beach weather doesn't mean you're comfortable in your own skin. For many people with anxiety, the summer months are the worst. If you prefer to crawl under your bed and stay there until fall, while everyone is casually celebrating summer, remember these things.
The well-known winter dip has a summer counterpart: Reserve Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or Summer Sad affects about 1 in 10 people who also suffer from winter depression. Research also confirms that anxiety skyrockets with seasonal changes.
Being exposed to high temperatures can exacerbate anxiety as well as anxiety-like symptoms.
Your body reacts to heat in a similar way to a panic attack, which may feel like an intense anxiety attack to you, but it isn't always. If the humidity is high, it is also more difficult to concentrate while your energy levels drop drastically and your body cannot cool down properly.
Sweating, lightheadedness, nausea, shortness of breath and an increased heart rate are symptoms that occur with both heat and panic.
In the summer you make more of the stress hormone cortisol. This was discovered by a researcher from the Poznan University of Medical Sciences in Poland. The cortisol turns your nervous system upside down, and voila: more anxiety-like complaints and worse anxiety than in cooler months.
Fomo is real
The pressure to socialize and have fun peaks in the summer. Especially in the Netherlands, the summer is short, and you can constantly get in the way of yourself thinking that you have to do everything, because 'it will soon be over'.
The season of body suits and mini bikinis is here. Whether you're scrolling through your feed or looking around at the beach, if you're prone to comparing yourself to others, summer is a minefield of triggers. And you feel that in your body.
Come through the summer
In short, those who have anxiety can have an extra hard time in the summer. How do you get through the season with anxiety?
- Listen to your body. Do you get signs that things are not going well: restlessness, fatigue, palpitations, insomnia, excessive worry, hyperalertness, obsessions, nausea or shortness of breath? Make sure you stay hydrated and meet up with a good friend (preferably someone with air conditioning).
- Avoid social outings or being outside for a long time at a heat wave.
- If you are tense, focus on physical relaxation. Breathing slowly is key. Be careful not to constantly tense your jaws, hands and shoulders.
- Try the Ice-diving exercise for extreme panic: submerge your face in ice water for thirty seconds. You hit your nervous system's hard reset button, as it were, and that would quickly calm you down, some scientists say.
- CBD oil can also help. Full-spectrum CBD oil for under the tongue has a calming effect on your nervous system. Several studies support this. In 2011, the effect of CBD on patients with SAD was investigated. Participants were administered an oral dose of 400 mg or a placebo. Team CBD had significantly lower anxiety levels. Heal Mary 10% Drops is very popular with people with anxiety symptoms.
- Several recent studies show that CBD can help with PTSD symptoms, such as nightmares and recurring memories. These studies looked at CBD as a stand-alone treatment and as an addition to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. If you're feeling down and anxious while everyone else is chatting and BBQing outside, don't be too hard on yourself. You are not alone and there is nothing wrong with you.