Sun’s out. School’s out. Birds are singing. You’re not feeling it.

Despite that it may seem improbable for the time of year, a few people get depressed each summer.

Seasonal affective disorder is known to affect people more commonly in winter (estimated to be as many as 4 to 6 percent) – the result of cold days, long nights and fluctuating hormone levels. While it is less common in the summer, it does exist, mental health professionals report.

Symptoms of it are pretty broad – including loss of appetite, weight loss and lack of sleep. There are a number of ways to avoid it, from changing your diet and exercising moderately to seeking therapy.

Far be it from us to refute the wisdom of Eddie Cochran. But even if you don’t have seasonal affective disorder, the easiest way to shake off the summer blahs is to get outside and be in the world.

Follow these tips for an exciting and fun summer in Oklahoma. Note they also don’t cost much money.

Things to do in Tulsa
For a list of cool things to do on the cheap in Tulsa, check out this article in the Tulsa World.

The list includes the First Friday Art Crawl in the Brady Arts District in which art galleries and museums open for artists and music from 6-9 p.m. the first Friday of each month.

It also mentions Second Saturdays at Philbrook Museum of Art the second Saturday of every month. Admission to the museum is free. The museum has a number of works by world-class artists from all over the world, and its gardens are known for their beauty throughout the region.

Also in the World article is a “self-guided art deco tours in downtown Tulsa” and “Jam Nights at the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame” every Tuesday night at 5 S. Boston Ave.

If you’re not interested in the self-guided tour, a $10 tour guided by the Tulsa Foundation for Architecture can be found here. Tours take place the second Saturday of each month. Children 12 and under are free.

Another fun kid-friendly activity is the Tulsa Rock, Mineral, Fossil and Jewelry Show, July 11-12, at Tulsa’s Central Park Hall in Expo Square. Tickets are only $6, and kids 12 and under are free. The show includes rare gems, fossils, beads, minerals, crystals and a fluorescent room.

Read more below for other fun activities.

D.A.M. Jam Bicycle Tour

This late summer, family-friendly bike ride is popular among Northeast Oklahoma riders of all shapes and skill and equipment levels.

With tours of 31, 55, 71 and 101 miles, there’s something for every rider looking to enjoy the verdant, gentle foothills of the Ozarks with the safety of strident race support, well-paved routes and stops all along the routes.

Each route passes within riding distance of Lake Hudson. The ride starts Sept. 5 in Pryor and ends at the same location with the Dam J.A.M. Party in the Park with music and food.

Black Mesa Hiking and Birding

The highest point in Oklahoma is also among its most visually arresting.

A 400-mile drive from the Tulsa area to Kenton, this trip is best reserved for a long weekend, but it nevertheless rewards its adventurers with a sweeping mesa vistas, incredible bird watching, petroglyphs and fossilized dinosaur footprints.

For the more adventurous, there’s a trail to the summit of Black Mesa here, an 8.4-mile hike that’s traversable by most relatively fit folks, provided they come equipped with water and food. The hike rewards its finishers with views into New Mexico and Colorado.

Picturesque Oklahoma Swimming Holes

Anyone who grew up in rural Oklahoma remembers spending time at least one of these swimming areas. Be sure you check for flooding-related closures before you travel, however, as record rains have caused flooding in some areas.

Check out these other ideas from TravelOK:

Kid-friendly state parks

Wild buffalo


Happy couple in park

What else? See your local town’s events page for things to do in the area. TravelOK may have a listing for your town, too. Most cities have things going on outside that’ll get you outdoors at cooler times in the day, letting you meet and interact with others, in addition to spending more time in your town.

Summer’s long days give plenty of extra daylight to do fun, easy things in the yard that can leave you feeling rewarded and engaged.

Gardening is known to have a number of benefits on the psyche. Oklahoma’s fertile soil and warm climate are great for a number of flowers – not to mention that vegetable garden like your grandma used to have.

How long has it been since you’ve been to your local library?

Checking out books to read is free, and most of all, you don’t have to hold on to that book after you’re finished with it, so there’s no worry about more things cluttering up your shelves.

If you have pets, just taking them on a walk around your neighborhood can help break the blues, in addition to help get your furry pals some exercise.



Other resources:



Matt Elliott
Social and traditional media producer
Family & Children’s Services