- If you’ve noticed an increase in anxiety or panic attacks as the temperature got warmer, you’re not alone.
- Summer anxiety is a very real thing and it’s caused by high heat and humidity.
- Here’s how you can alleviate symptoms and stay relaxed this summer season, according to experts.
If you’ve ever noticed that your moods are impacted by the weather forecast, you’re not alone. Many people experience seasonal depression in winter or summer months— or both.
It turns out that the weather can not only trigger depression but can also exacerbate the symptoms of anxiety, according to research done by the Japanese Society of Psychiatry and Neurology.
The symptoms that occur when you get too hot closely mirror those that occur during a panic attack.
Psychotherapist Ellen Yom told HelloGiggles, “Summer can be especially anxiety-producing for those who have experienced panic attacks in the past.” She added, “The felt physiological symptoms are very intense during a panic attack, so a lot of people with this history can experience higher levels of anxiety during the summer months when the same physiological symptoms (sweating, palpitations, shaking, shortness of breath, feeling faint) are triggered.”
“When your body becomes too hot, you may experience symptoms similar to those of an anxiety disorder,” according to The Lantern Project. “If you do not take care of yourself when the weather is hot, you may find your anxiety symptoms escalating.”
It’s not just the heat — summer sun can impact your mental health too.
Summer can often mean being busier, which can make you tired. But the summer sun could be taking a toll on your sleeping pattern as well. This can affect your mental health and trigger anxiety and depression, according to Dr. Alfred Lewy, a psychiatry professor at Oregon Health & Science University.
Lewy told NBC News that people whose circadian rhythm is thrown off by the extra sunlight should acclimate by spending more time in the sun in the morning and to talk to their doctor about possibly taking melatonin supplements.
Experts recommend avoiding the heat.
As for how to help prevent and minimize these symptoms, experts recommend staying inside as much as possible during super-high temperatures and humidity, according to The Lantern Project.
Aside from that, pay attention to your body’s natural cues. Keep a lookout for symptoms such as restlessness, irritability, intrusive thoughts and worries, fatigue, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, and nausea.
Staying hydrated, eating a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, and regularly exercising can also help treat summer anxiety.