During the Summer months, we may find ourselves taking every opportunity to enjoy as much of the outdoors and sunshine as we can. From a mental health perspective, many will say that that they feel “lighter” or “less stressed” over the Summer, especially if we are taking time for vacations or social gatherings. Some may even find that the increase in time spent outdoors and with others can make a considerable impact on our overall well being. Even when we are feeling stronger, it is important not to lose sight of our mental health because the Summer months are an ideal time to tend to our needs, develop effective coping skills and build resilience while we feel our best. Here are some of the best ways of targeting your mental health and wellness over the Summer.
1. Get outdoors - Being outside and active (walking around your neighbourhood at a normal pace counts!) on a daily basis can have a significant positive impact on your mood. Even if it means forcing yourself and “faking it till you make it”-over time, it can become a habit.
2. Set a limit on screen time - Set timers on your devices to alert you that it is time for a break. Give your self a change of scenery and if you have a device in your hand, avoid social media and use that time for texting someone or strike up a discussion in a group chat. *Bonus points for actually calling someone in real time with your ACTUAL voice. This can help us to feel more connected and social, and can protect us from the trap of avoiding social interaction through technology; a growing concern.
3. Make a Playlist - Put all your favourite songs into several playlists based on moods that you are hoping to target. For sad moods-uplifting and motivating songs, for anxious moods-calming and grounding tunes, for low energy moods-essentially the entire Beyonce catalogue, etc.
4. Set weekly goals - Have you been putting off a visit to see an old friend or relative? Struggling to prioritize self care? Lay out your calendar and create a goal for each week and tell someone about each of your goals along the way. You would be surprised at how much a well formulated goal and some accountability can lead to success and a sense of achievement.
5. Consider seeking help-When people wait until their needs are too big before they get support, the process can feel overwhelming and getting started can seem impossible. Take advantage of the momentum and energy that the Summer months can bring and talk to a therapist. Developing effective coping strategies in a proactive way can help you to feel better prepared to manage difficult moods and situations before they strike.