Southern California is known for some of the best weather in the country. Sunny skies and low humidity levels make living here an absolute dream.
Until May Gray and June Gloom come along.
If you live in the San Diego area, you’re probably already familiar with this weather phenomenon. The technical reason for May Gray and June Gloom has to do with temperature differences between the ocean water and the air. This time of year, the temperatures differ so greatly that they create a dense marine layer that blankets the typically-sunny SoCal coast with low clouds and fog. The non-technical way to describe May Gray and June Gloom is really just a bunch of crummy, non-sunny days in a row. And you know what that means? It means an onset of depression for many—specifically, seasonal depression or seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
Effects of May Gray and June Gloom on Mental Health
While this natural air conditioning in Southern California is great for the ecology of California (think: less wildfire risk), it can do a number on your mental health. You may not think seasonal affective disorder and California really go together, but in these couple of months, it’s most certainly prevalent.
In several other parts of the country, SAD typically hits during the cold, dark months of winter. But in SoCal, it’s during May Gray and June Gloom. (And sometimes even No-Sky July.)
Check out this list of common symptoms of seasonal affective disorder. If you’re a California resident and find yourself not feeling quite like yourself in the late spring and early summer months, you might just be experiencing SAD.
- difficulty concentrating
- feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness
- inability to find any pleasure in activities you used to enjoy
- reduced libido
- appetite changes, often craving carbohydrates
- increased fatigue
- frequent thoughts of death and/or suicide
- feeling sad or depressed during certain times of the year
- changes in sleeping patterns
As you can see, these symptoms pretty much mirror the symptoms of clinical depression. The main differentiating factor is the fact that you experience these symptoms only at certain times of the year.
Living day after day under gray skies can be pretty disorienting. But the good news is that SAD (and May Gray/June Gloom) is 100% treatable. Not only can you greatly benefit from our high-quality mental health treatment in San Diego here at BOLD Health, but you can also take matters into your own hands by practicing Light Therapy.
What is Light Therapy?
Your body is designed to soak up the benefits of sunlight. Serotonin from the rays of glorious sunlight improves your mood and keeps your circadian rhythm in check. But when you don’t see the sun for long stretches of time, you start to feel a little (or a lot) down.
Enter: phototherapy boxes, AKA lightboxes.
Lightboxes use bulbs brighter than the average light bulb and come in various wavelengths, depending on your needs. So rather than get the serotonin you need from the sun, you get it from light therapy.
How Light Therapy Can Chase Away the May Gray and June Gloom
The benefits of light therapy are fairly simple to achieve. While it may seem a little strange to sit in front of an artificially-lit box everyday during the gloomy weather months, it’s worth it. In fact, research has shown that the positive effects of light therapy can be seen after only one session.
This easily accessible, relatively inexpensive help for SAD can work wonders in improving your mental health. Sitting in front of your lightbox for 10-30 minutes per day within one hour of waking up can keep the May Gray and June gloom blues at bay. The most noteworthy benefits of light therapy include improvements in:
Research suggests that when used in conjunction with other forms of depression treatment, such as talk therapy, the benefits of light therapy are even more impressive.
It’s also important to note that light therapy may not be appropriate for everyone. Individuals with retinal damage or diabetes should consult their doctor before use.
Utilize the Best Depression Treatment in San Diego to Accompany Your Light Therapy
Just like any form of depression, the seasonal affective disorder isn’t a choice you make. And it’s not something you should just “power through” and deal with year after year. There will always be people around you who say things like,
“What do you have to be sad about? You live in Southern California! Your life is great!”
But don’t feel guilty about not feeling your best during the gray months of spring and summer here in SoCal.
Investing in a light therapy device is one of the easiest and most practical things you can do to combat SAD. But just because you experience the benefits of light therapy from your lightbox, that doesn’t mean it’s a cure for depression.
Enlisting the help of a trained mental health professional can help you feel your best all year long, even when the fog settles on Southern Cali in May and June.
Take the BOLD Step to Fight May Gray and June Gloom
Here at Bold Health, our qualified team of professionals is ready to help you through your SAD or any other type of mental health concern. Because we offer a comprehensive list of mental health treatment options, no matter what you’re dealing with, we can help.
Our unique approach is unlike anything other than depression therapy in San Diego. When you choose to partner with us, we’ll make sure you get exactly what you need to thrive and live your best life, despite the low-lying clouds.
We don’t simply work on reducing your symptoms of SAD. We focus on helping you better understand who you are and why you’ve arrived at your current mental health state. By clearly identifying your genetic, structural, biological, and medical history, we’ll be more attuned to your individual needs, allowing us to efficiently work together to help you feel better faster.
Whether you find yourself feeling less like yourself in the gloomy months of May and June in SoCal or battle with any type of depression or mental illness, we’re here for you. Contact us and start your journey to year-round wellness today!