9 Mental Health Tips for a Brighter Summer

Summer is a season that reminds many people of fun outdoor activities like going to the beach, walking in the park, swimming, and picnics with family and friends. However, it reminds others of getting overheated, battling insects and bugs, and feeling overwhelmed with trying to accomplish everything on your to-do list. It also reminds them of vacation planning, traveling, finding childcare, more running around, and less time for themselves to care for their mental well-being, mental health conditions, or implementing mental health tips and strategies to alleviate some of the pressure.

Pressure and Exhaustion

Speaking of pressure…

Pressure by peers to join activities, pressure by the boss to work later since the days are longer, and even pressure on yourself to get outdoors, even when you are exhausted, can bring on feelings of summertime dread. Before you know it, you are struggling with a anxiety and depression.

This summer, make your mental health a priority by following these 9 mental health tips.

1. The 30 Minute Rule

When you think of spending time outdoors, don’t think in terms of hours. This year, think minutes instead. Use the 30-minute rule, setting your daily goal for only 30 minutes. If after 30 minutes you want to stay outdoors for longer, do so. If you want to go back indoors, do so with pride, knowing you met your daily goal for the day.

Thirty minutes a day is plenty of time outdoors to soak in vitamin D from the sun, burn a few calories, and boost your mood. If there are days when you don’t feel like going outside, that’s okay. Find something indoors to do for at least 30 minutes. The key is to find the activity that makes you feel better.

2. Eat More Fruits and Vegetables

Summer is the growing season for so many delicious fruits and vegetables. You may enjoy growing a garden, even if it is a small container garden on your patio. Growing plants from seed to harvest is rewarding. If you aren’t a fan of gardening, find other ways to incorporate fresh fruits and vegetables into your day.

Take a cooking or baking class, support your local farmer’s market, or join a home delivery fresh food program. Fruits and vegetables offer nutrients that are great for improving mental and physical health.

3. Commit to Restorative Sleep

Restorative sleep occurs during the deepest stages of sleep, like the delta and Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stages. Your brain cycles through a sleep cycle of beta, alpha, theta, delta, and REM every ninety minutes. Some refer to these as awake, falling asleep, light sleep, slow-wave sleep, and REM.

Eight to ten hours of sleep each night during the summer is a worthy goal for your whole family. You can create sleep habits, or sleep hygiene, to help everyone get into the routine. Sleep hygiene consists of the positive activities you do before and after sleep that help you get the most restful sleep possible.

Sleep hygiene examples include turning off electronics one hour before bed and sleeping in a dark room on a comfortable mattress. It can also include reading or bathing before bed and brushing your teeth at the same time each night.

4. Treat Yourself to a Vacation or Staycation

Rather than wasting your vacation time doing chores around your house, use them on something to boost your mental health. If going to the beach helps you relax, go for it. If staying in bed and binge-watching comedies enable you to laugh for two or three days, do it.

Commit to spending your days off participating only in vacation activities that improve mental health.

5. Unplug

You may not realize it, but technology can add stress to your life. There can be pressure to get on social media to say hello to friends or see what everyone is up to during the Summer. Then there is pressure to show everyone your summer activities. This type of social pressure can sneak up on you and cause unwanted anxiety and depression.

Take a break from social media by posting a summer message, “taking a mental health break, be back soon.” You may be surprised at how many others take a break too.

6. Say “No”

Saying no is hard. That’s why so many people have difficulty doing it, even when they know they are overwhelmed and exhausted from all the other projects they’ve agreed to take on. However, saying “no” is one of the best ways to manage your mental health.

To make saying “no” easier, tell the truth. It’s okay to let someone know you already have too much on your plate or that you must focus on your mental health. The stigma regarding mental health is fading, and the people who genuinely care about you will understand.

7. Attend Individual or Group Counseling

Meeting one-on-one with a licensed therapist or joining a support group are two proven ways to improve your mental health for a brighter summer. There are immense benefits of both, including giving and receiving positive feedback and encouragement. You also get to learn new coping skills for handling life’s ups and downs, vent in a safe and confidential space, improve social skills, and learn more about yourself.

8. Improve Physical Health

Your physical and mental health are dependent on one another. Symptoms of depression include body and muscle aches and pains. When you feel bad physically, it is unlikely you also feel joyful. There is also a connection between mental health and chronic conditions like diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

By implementing small changes to improve your physical health, you will notice an improvement in your mood.

9. Learn Something New

Learning keeps your mind active, and it can feel rewarding to accomplish something new. Ideas include learning a new hobby, starting a meditation or prayer routine, writing in a gratitude journal, or supporting your local spa by signing up for a massage, facial, or manicure.

Practicing Mental Health Tips for a Great Summer

Start a bucket list and work your way through it without guilt. You deserve a great summer, and with these mental health tips, you can have it.

For questions, contact us today. At Mental Health Center, we provide mental health care, assessment, and treatment for individuals in different stages of life.