Summer is here, and with the warm weather and sunshine, our mental health seems to be shining as well. It’s normal for depression and anxiety to not be as prevalent during the summer, but it’s also impossible to be okay 100% of the time. Our mental health is always fluctuating and even when we feel like we’re doing our best, a bad day might creep up on us every now and then. It’s okay to not be okay, but it’s not okay to stay that way forever. Here are 7 things you can do that’ll only improve your mental health this summer:
1. Get Outside
This may be a given considering everyone wants to be outside during the summer, but on our bad days, we may have no energy to get up and actually get outside. Although, that’s when it’s most important to get out and get some sunshine! Whether it’s going for a walk, playing outside with friends or pets, or even just laying outside reading or taking a nap, getting fresh air and Vitamin D is a must in the summer when we’re not feeling well mentally.
2. Start a New Hobby
Summer time is the perfect time to try new things. Pick up something you’ve always wanted to do and start doing it, or pick up an old hobby that got left behind in the busyness of life. Whatever you decide to try, make sure it’s something that you enjoy and not something that feels like work or a chore. Hobbies are supposed to be fun and pleasurable for you!
3. Catch Up with Friends and Family
In the chaos of everyday life, it’s hard to always find time to reach out to people and keep those connections going; summer is a great time to catch up! Text, call, email, send a letter, whatever mode of communication you like best, but reach out to someone you’ve been meaning to catch up with or just anyone you’ve been meaning to chat with lately. Whether you go on a coffee date or just catch up over Zoom, those connections and conversations with people you care about and want in your life are important.
4. Plan a Vacation/Staycation
Getting away, or just taking a break, is super important for our mental and physical health! Make sure this summer you are taking time off work or school and making time for yourself. With prices increasing all-around, it may not always be feasible to go away on a vacation, but a staycation can be just as great. Plan a week or long weekend away or at home where you can do nothing but relax and unwind. That’s what summer is all about, and your mental health will thank you for it.
5. Exercise/Get Active
Similarly to getting outside, summertime is a great time to get active and make sure you’re getting your exercise in. As much as your mental health may want you to do nothing, exercising and doing something active is a great way to get out of your head and release those endorphins into your brain. It can be anything from going for a run, doing a workout, rollerblading, biking, or simply going for a walk around the block; exercising is a great way to keep up with your mental health.
6. Just Relax
All year round life is filled with work, school, and just the everyday busyness of life. While those things don’t stop during summer, it’s still a great time to relax and give yourself some you time. Give yourself time to recharge and just sit in the sun and enjoy life for anywhere from a few minutes to hours, however much time you need. Relax, unwind, you deserve it, even if you feel like you don’t!
Emily Blair, ALMFT