The last school bell brings visions of kids joyfully running out of the classroom until the fall and of teachers moving on to a summer job or enjoying some much deserved time for themselves. Interestingly, however, if you Google ‘teacher summer’ one of the suggested topics that comes up is ‘teacher depression during summer’. If you click on the links, you find a very different story about how many teachers feel in the summer.
On Reddit one user states “Anxiety/depression in the summer? I spend all year looking forward to summer break, and then, when it finally arrives, I’m hit with intense anxiety and depression. Anyone else feel this?” Numerous comments to this user suggest that many feel the same for a variety of reasons.
Common Reasons for Summertime Stress in Teachers (according to teachers on social media)
- Money – during the summer, so many of us take trips and visit family, but for teachers, the teacher 10-month income option can mean tightening belts during the summer and missing out on all of the fun.
- Human Interaction – during the school year teachers are surrounded by students, parents and administrators. While we’re sure they long for a little peace and quiet during the school year, summer can be a little too quiet for many.
- Purpose – teachers have so much purpose during the school year that the less structured days of summer can lead to anxiety.
But it isn’t just social media talking about summertime depression. According to WebMD’s article Tips for Summer Depression, “Especially hard is that you feel like you’re supposed to be having a great time. Everyone else seems so happy splashing in the water and sweating in their lawn chairs. So why can’t you?”
Beating the Summer Blues. Tips for Teachers, By Teachers
“I opted in to get pay checks year round. The first summer I didn’t and it wasn’t easy, but now I love summers.”
“I grew really close to some coworkers this year though so I’m gonna try to see them twice a week. The rest of my friends are still working but I will try to see my teacher friends more often”
Beating the Summer Blues. Tips from the Experts
WebMD has some simple tips for summertime depression:
- If you feel you need help, get help. “Even if your depression will resolve in September, that’s no reason to ignore it in June.”
- Take care of yourself. Make sure you’re sleeping enough and getting exercise – just don’t overdo it. “Don’t kick off the summer with a frenzy of dieting and exercise in order to fit into last year’s bathing suit. It’s bound to make you unhappy and anxious.”
- Plan carefully. Don’t do things just because you feel like “everyone is doing them”. Think carefully about what you want out of the summer and what’s going to be the most rewarding use of your time.
To get connected on this topic, you can follow #SeasonalAffectiveDisorder on Twitter, Seasonal Affective Disorder on Pinterest, or the Summer SAD group on Facebook. And, here are 10 Summer Depression Busters. Summer can be a rewarding time for teachers, but if you’re feeling down or stressed, know that you’re not alone.
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