The sun is out in its full glory. The temperatures are high. The days are long. It’s time for pool parties, vacations, trips to the beach, sliding in waterparks, and barbecues. Summer is perfect for relaxation and chasing fun. But just like any other season can feel overwhelming, summer is no different. Staying mentally healthy is essential especially now that we are continually exposed to a stressful news cycle.
You deserve to enjoy your summer while feeling in control of your thoughts and feelings and here’s how you can do that:
Stick to a regular sleep schedule. Did you know that we sleep less in the summer? The excess exposure to sunlight during the day can suppress our sleep hormone called melatonin which may disrupt our sleep cycles. Keep a specific time when you go to bed and if you can - clock in the recommended 7 to 8 hours of sleep. Reduce your exposure to artificial light, reducing your screen time before bed for at least 30 minutes to an hour.
Stay physically active. Take advantage of the longer days in the summer to move your body. You don’t have to do strenuous activities or exercise routines if you aren’t used to working out. Start with morning walks, dancing, yoga, or pilates. If you’re up to the task, go on long hikes and jogs. The key is to ensure that you stretch your body at least once a day. Exercise will reduce stress, Improve your mood and thinking abilities, and help you sleep more soundly at night.
Surround yourself with love. Make time for your family and friends. Host parties if that’s your thing or attend them. Take your kids to play in the park. Relationships are the anchor of our well-being because they lower our risk of anxiety and depression. Now is the time to go on that girls' trip or bae-cation. There’s a joy that comes with the summer because we get to hang out with people who make us happy and you need to tap into it. Go outside and make some new friends at the beach.
While enjoying the bright, warm weather, try taking up an activity that has nothing to do with work or school—something that lets you use all of your senses. If you're into sports, try taking up tennis or basketball; both are great ways to get some exercise and release endorphins in your brain! If you like music and art, try playing guitar or piano instead of listening to music on your phone. This will allow you to focus on the sounds around you rather than being distracted by whatever is playing in your earbuds (unless it's something amazing).
Keep stress levels down by not overdoing things. It’s very easy to get overwhelmed or burned out in the summer if you’re everywhere trying to do everything. You don’t have to have your schedule filled with a list of fun things to do or take off your bucket list. Make time for rest as well. If summer is a busy time for you at work, make use of your paid time off or delegate your duties if you’re in a position to. Take breaks occasionally because they are necessary so that you don’t get too overwhelmed to work.
Look out for signs of mental distress by regularly checking in with yourself and how you’re feeling. If you're having trouble coping with stress or anxiety, it's important to recognize the signs of a mental illness. Symptoms include: feeling depressed or withdrawn, having difficulty sleeping, losing interest in things that used to bring joy, avoiding situations where there are high chances of being judged or criticized, experiencing physical symptoms like headaches or stomachaches; having suicidal thoughts or attempts, and feeling hopelessness about future events.
No matter where you find yourself this summer, I am here to help you figure out what’s going on with your mental health. I offer a free 15-minute, no-obligation consultation (by phone or via Telehealth). We'll discuss your needs and whether I'm a good fit for you, as well as answer any questions about cost, length of treatment, and service coordination.
Schedule your free consultation here.