If you’re someone who counts down the days to the official first day of summer, warm weather and vitamin D, you may not be quite ready to say goodbye to the year’s warmer months. With autumn drawing nearer, you may find yourself feeling a bit down, mourning the loss of summer days.
On the other hand, if you’re are a fan of winter months, August can feel a bit useless, with leftover summer parties and serious burnout when it comes to backyard barbecues. If you’re counting down the minutes to cooler days and sweater weather, August can feel like a bit of a drag.
Regardless of whether you’re a summer worshipper or a pumpkin spice enthusiast, these feelings of August anxiety are more common than you think. While it’s not the same as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), Stephen Ferrando, director of psychiatry at Westchester Medical Center, told New York Magazine that symptoms can feel very similar. With a disorder like SAD, sufferers have a biological disposition to the change of seasons in the fall and winter months due to decreased daylight.
“In order to be diagnosed with a mood disorder, you have to have at least two weeks of pretty persistent symptoms that don’t really get better… If something good happens you feel better, and if something not so good happens, you feel worse, but it’s a little more reactive to circumstance. A true disorder doesn’t react well to circumstance,” said Ferrando. “Disorders are more biologically triggered.”
When it comes to feeling the blues in August, it can be attributed to circumstances: either your inclination for cooler months or your anxiety around summer coming to an end. While this August depression isn’t synonymous with SAD, it can be compared to the same feelings we get on a Sunday evening.
“August blues, which are sort of like the Sunday night blues for a month,” said Ferrando.
While the anxiety surrounding the end of summer displays itself differently in everyone, it can act as a reminder that despite our instincts telling us to make the most of our fleeting days of summer, there’s nothing wrong with taking your last weeks to recharge and prepare for the start of a new season.