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Summertime Sadness

Summertime Sadness
Jo Zixuan Zhou

“Hey Alexa, play “Summertime Sadness” by Lana Del Rey.”

With school ending in less than a month, things have begun to wind down as everyone prepares for summer. Contrary to what many believe, as the weather gets nicer, it’s normal to experience feelings such as anxiety, restlessness, agitation and much more.

Experiencing these feelings may be due to what is known as summertime SAD, or seasonal affective disorder. According to Mayo Clinic, SAD is a type of depression that correlates with the changing of seasons. It affects roughly 5% of the U.S. population.

As teenagers, there is a fear of missing out (FOMO). FOMO can be distressing for teens as social media has gained so much popularity throughout the years.

Social media has a way of making teenagers feel left out and is a constant reminder of the fun they aren’t having. This can lead to isolation, moodiness and lethargy, which may be seen as “normal teen behavior,” when in fact, it could be something more for people to consider.

Usually SAD, occurs as a result of the weather getting colder, but that isn’t always the case. Ten percent of people who deal with seasonal affective disorder have summertime SAD. This is when summer triggers depression-like symptoms.

Statistically, having seasonal affective disorder is more common in women than it is for men. The reasons for this are still unclear, but many researchers believe it is due to hormonal fluctuations.

When it comes to teenagers, it is known that moods often fluctuate and rather quickly too. There are many reasons a teen may be going through summertime SAD, especially when things at school are beginning to wrap up.

“For some teens, the transition from highly structured time in school to a completely open schedule can cause extreme anxiety as well as depression,” says Antelope Recovery.

With a lack of structure during the summer, it’s easy for teens to feel lost and overwhelmed with the amount of free time they have. In addition, sleep schedules change drastically, which can have an effect on teens suffering with seasonal affective disorder.

For Eric Bowler, senior and member of robotics, his sleep schedule allows him to get eight hours of sleep year round. “During school I tend to go to bed at 11 p.m. and wake up at 7 a.m., while during the summer I go to bed at 1 a.m and wake up at 9 a.m.”.

Getting the recommended amount of sleep each night can help when it comes to not only physical health, but also mental health. Being able to maintain eight hours of sleep every night can reduce stress, improve mood, and improve mental function.

On top of the lack of structure and sleeping schedules, crimes as well as substance abuse tend to increase during the summer.

“With more free time and less supervision, teens may be more likely to engage in risky behaviors during the summer months,” says Antelope Recovery.

Bradford Health Services says, “By the end of August nearly one million teens will have tasted their first drink of alcohol. On an average summer day, approximately 4,500 youth will smoke cigarettes or marijuana for the first time.”

According to Antelope Recovery, the signs and symptoms for someone going through substance abuse are changes in dress, grooming, and choice of friends; frequent arguments; sudden mood changes; changes in eating and sleeping patterns; and loss of interest in activities.

With that, there are many ways to combat summer depression like getting the right amount of sleep, exercising, eating a balanced diet, and participating in recreational activities.

Not only that, but getting a summer job is an easy way to keep busy. Jobs like dog walking, babysitting, lifeguarding and lawn mowing are always things people need help with during the summer.

Yet, sometimes jobs only hire at a certain age or some people may not be able to work. In that case, volunteering is always a good idea.  People can volunteer  at local farms, pet rescues, hospitals, and elder care centers.  Doing these kinds of things not only helps others, but also can make a person feel better about himself too.

In the end, there are many ways to keep busy throughout the summer and if you or someone you know is experiencing summertime SAD, you are not alone.

If you are struggling, please reach out to someone you trust or call/text 988.

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About the Contributor
Leah Canter
Leah Canter, Staff Editor
Leah, a junior and third-year staff writer for the BBH HyBreeze, is a mental health advocate who loves traveling.

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