The sun is shining brightly and the days are growing longer, making summer time a perfect opportunity to reprioritize your mental health. Whether you're looking to recover from a challenging first half of the year, reduce stress, or improve your overall mental health, these practical tips can help you make the most of the summer, while at the same time supporting your mental health in perhaps new and different ways.
Embrace Nature: One of the greatest gifts of summer is the abundance of outdoor activities. Take advantage of the warm weather and make it a priority to be outdoors for at least 30 minutes everyday. There are of course activities such as walking, hiking, or swimming to take advantage of, but you might also want to try gardening, bird watching, or just drinking your coffee outside in the morning. Just being outside for a short amount of time can reduce stress, boost your mood and it is naturally relaxing. Just remember to wear sunscreen and to drink plenty of water!
Prioritize Relaxation: Summer is associated with vacations and relaxation, but as most of us know, unless you plan to relax, it often doesn’t happen. You have to consciously make time for it. Some relaxing activities are reading, meditating and practicing yoga. You don’t even have to travel to do these things. Everyone has access to a public library or an online bookstore, try a new genre and rediscover or discover your love of reading. There are numerous free meditation and yoga resources online, YouTube is a treasure trove of free and amazing video guides. Schedule it into your day and make relaxation a daily priority.
Stay Active: Regular exercise is an amazing tool for managing stress and improving your mental health. Exercise is not a replacement for therapy, medication or support, but it does help in addition to what you are already doing. Not only will exercise release endorphins, which boost your mood, it promotes better sleep, can increase your body self confidence, and best of all, it helps settle your mind.
Socialize and Connect: Summer provides a lot of opportunities to socialize and reconnect with others. Pick and choose the ones that bring you joy, not obligation anxiety. Spending time with the people in your life that have been there for you and love you is a huge mental health boost. It is a beautiful thing to visit and hug those you love, especially post pandemic.
Unplug and Digital Detox: It is completely normal in 2023 to check your phone first thing in the morning and continue until your eyes snap shut at night. It is the way of the world, but it doesn’t mean it's healthy. Find opportunities this summer to unplug for a while. Turn off notifications, disconnect from social media, don’t check email on the weekend. Bask in the simple moments, focus on being present and enjoying the situation you are in without the need to document each moment.
Practice Mindfulness: Mindfulness is being focused on this moment in time, it is the practice of sitting still, focusing on your breath, being and living in this moment only. This might sound very crunchy granola, but hear us out. We are so busy all the time and our minds are racing a mile a minute and don’t we all just crave a moment of silence? Set aside a time in the morning before everyone is up, or at night when everyone is asleep, to sit, to breathe, to reflect, to journal. Let your mind relax and your body and central nervous system calm.
Set Realistic Expectations: Our lives get incredibly hectic in the summer, especially for those who have younger children. They are off from school and now it is up to you to entertain them and uber them around, on top of everything else you do! It is important to not let self care and your mental health suffer because your needs get lost in the shuffle. Be kind to yourself and practice compassion to yourself and others. Remember that your mental health is a priority, therapy, medication, support and time to regroup is a necessity, so never feel guilty about the time, money and activities you have to say “no” to in order to make these appointments and moments happen.
This summer, make a commitment to make your mental health a priority. Embrace the beauty of nature, engage in activities that bring you joy and allow you to be surrounded by those you love and that love you. Remember to unplug from technology when you can, practice mindfulness, and set realistic expectations for yourself.
Remember to visit SupportGroups.com often!
Here are a few groups we think you might enjoy:
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