Is Summer Anxiety a Real Thing?

Summer anxiety is real. Learn four reasons why summer can induce anxiety, and use the knowledge to help prevent summer anxiety at HealthyPlace.

Is summer anxiety a real thing? The effects of winter weather on mental health have been researched, and it's widely accepted that winter can cause seasonal affective disorder or seasonal depression. But how about the summer? Can the sunny, cheery season negatively impact mental health and anxiety? Countless online conversations indicate that summer anxiety is, indeed, real and can be disruptive to wellbeing. Knowing how summer weather can worsen anxiety will help you reduce and even prevent summer anxiety flare-ups. 

Sometimes, people who don't experience much anxiety during most of the year will notice a vague feeling of anxiety during the summer months. Others who do deal with anxiety during other times of the year may also notice an increase in their anxiety during the hottest season of the year. There are several reasons for summer anxiety that together add up to significant, life-disrupting anxiety symptoms. 

Causes of Summer Anxiety

Several factors play a role in summer anxiety. Knowing what they are can help you take action to change what you can in order to reduce anxiety. 

The Heat

Researchers have found that high heat can cause the same physiological responses as a panic attack. Therefore, when people feel sweaty, shaky, or lightheaded, they are reminded of panic. This can induce panic attacks in people prone to them, or it can cause an unsettled feeling of heightened anxiety. 

Additionally, heat and extensive sunlight can lead to:

  • Sleep disruption
  • Exhaustion
  • Dehydration

All of these can cause or worsen anxiety. 


Summer brings a bounty of fresh produce, which is excellent for reducing and staving off anxiety. Fruits and vegetables contain vital nutrients the brain needs to be healthy and anxiety-free. Eating lots of summer ripened produce will help anxiety. However, there are many other summer foods that hurt anxiety. 

Summer and picnic foods go together like ants and, well, a picnic. Hot dogs, fried foods, refined desserts, processed foods in general, alcoholic beverages, and soda tend to be enthusiastically consumed during the summer and its barbeques and beach parties. All of this junk food can cause or increase anxiety


This category isn't as broad as the others and it might affect fewer people. That doesn't mean that it's insignificant, however. Storm anxiety is a real thing and it can be especially intense during the summer months. Depending on where you live, summer can bring hurricanes or tornadoes. It can also bring thunderstorms and electrical storms. 

These storms can blow in quickly and can be destructive. Violent summer storms can be very damaging and even life-threatening, and they can evoke strong feelings of anxiety in some people. Those who are afraid of storms can feel uneasy all season long (Managing Anxiety During Natural Disasters). 

Change in Structure/Routine

Ah, the lazy days of summer. We can all be stress-free and carefree. That's the theory, anyway. It's often different, and anxiety-provoking, in reality. 

Summer can be busier than ever, which can contribute to stress and anxiety. This is especially true if you're holding onto visions of what summer "should" be like. Now you're dealing with schedules and pressure to spend your time a certain way. Too much structure can be stifling and anxiety-provoking. 

Conversely, if your schedule eases up and you have too much free time, you might find yourself without purpose or direction. Feeling aimless can be unsettling and cause uncomfortable anxiety. 

For many reasons, summer anxiety is real. The hot, sunny season can cause or increase anxiety. Use what you know about the causes to manage your anxiety and enjoy your summer. 

APA Reference
Peterson, T. (2018, July 19). Is Summer Anxiety a Real Thing? , HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 25 from

Author: Tanya J. Peterson, MS, NCC, DAIS

Tanya J. Peterson is the author of numerous anxiety self-help books, including The Morning Magic 5-Minute Journal, The Mindful Path Through Anxiety, 101 Ways to Help Stop Anxiety, The 5-Minute Anxiety Relief Journal, The Mindfulness Journal for Anxiety, The Mindfulness Workbook for Anxiety, and Break Free: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in 3 steps. She has also written five critically acclaimed, award-winning novels about life with mental health challenges. She delivers workshops for all ages and provides online and in-person mental health education for youth. She has shared information about creating a quality life on podcasts, summits, print and online interviews and articles, and at speaking events. Tanya is a Diplomate of the American Institution of Stress helping to educate others about stress and provide useful tools for handling it well in order to live a healthy and vibrant life. Find her on her website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Belle Dushner
July, 24 2018 at 3:46 am

I am worried what's happening to me these past few days. I'm in the right mind to think now so i take this opportunity to ask for some help. I read along the way this article that maybe CBD can help me. I am experiencing a behavior where i feel like i am alone but i am not. I'm stressing myself with no reason, i over think with small things, i feel like im too emotional everytime someone says something about me. I know i need a professional opinion about this but i just want to have an alternative solution and i read that CBD can help me. I am not sure if this thing works. So does anybody tried it? I need a help. Please..

July, 24 2018 at 12:01 pm

Hi Belle,
Because everyone can have a unique response to marijuana/CBD, HealthyPlace can't recommend for or against this treatment. The best insight would likely come from a doctor or equivalent medial professional.

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