Sindee Gozansky

Summer Self-Care: 5 Ways To Improve Your Mental Health This Summer


Summer is a great time to focus on yourself and really try to improve your mental health. The days are longer, warmer, and usually filled with more things to do outside the usual realm of work and home duties. Also, patterns and habits that we create now have a better chance of lasting throughout the year. Why? There’s just something about starting new routines when it’s a little easier to execute them. So let’s use that bit of extra time and energy you have this season to boost your summer self-care!


Here are 5 mental health tips to try out this summer:


1. Get outside every day, even if it’s just for a short walk around the block. Let yourself be in nature, whether it’s walking on the lawn, watching the birds or catching a little extra vitamin D from the sun. Ten minutes may be just enough to reduce your stress, improve your mood and change your attitude.


Use the good weather to vary your routine too. Instead of lounging on the couch, relax outside in the shade. Work on your laptop on your deck or porch. And bring your yoga mat outdoors to add some fresh air to your yoga flow.


2. Nurture relationships and spend more time with people. Make an effort to attend those summer BBQs and pool parties, visit with your neighbors around the fire pit in the evening or meet a friend for lunch at an outdoor cafe. Research has shown that social interaction is absolutely essential to our emotional wellbeing.


We feel better when we connect with others. However, it can also lead to more comparison of our appearance, income, lifestyle, etc. If you find yourself feeling down when you’re at a summer event, remember that you took a big step by attending. A great tip is to find one value you have in common with someone else there, which will help you refocus on the positive and meaningful things in your life.


3. Set goals and work toward them, even if they’re small ones. Having a sense of accomplishment can do wonders for your mental state. Decide what you want to achieve by the end of summer, write it down, and tell someone. Even better, get an accountability partner so you can work together and keep each other motivated.


Identify the system you’ll need to make progress toward your goal. It could be a training schedule, a written gratitude practice or a new approach to eating or drinking. When you pair this new activity with some prior habit or behavior that you’re used to doing regularly, you’ll have even better success. For example, do your gratitude journaling practice after you finish your morning coffee, or put on your running/walking shoes right after you brush your teeth. Be sure to keep track of your progress in a log or app tracker so you can see how far you’ve come.


4. Take risks. One way to mentally challenge yourself and feel good is to take some risks this summer. Whether it’s trying a new activity, meeting new people or simply speaking up more, you’ll experience increased confidence and self-esteem. You actually change your self-image and begin to see yourself as someone who is excited about life. Someone who is playful and determined. Who doesn’t admire those qualities?


The act of taking a risk can be as simple as visiting a new location, signing up for a different type of exercise class or getting started on that new hobby you’ve been thinking about forever. Being active decreases your experience of anxiety and depression symptoms, and adding novelty amplifies the positive effect on your well-being. Pushing yourself outside your comfort zone can also help break up the monotony of day-to-day living. So go ahead and jump in!


5. Relax purposefully. We all need some down time to relax and recharge our batteries, but many of us buy into the myth that we need to be constantly productive. The truth is that periods of rest and ease are what we need to refuel our energy and catalyze our next efforts of intensity and productivity. Just like athletes and newborns require a lot of sleep and recovery for their levels of activity and development, so do we.


This summer, make it a point to schedule in some relaxation time and stick to it. Even if it’s just a few minutes each day–to meditate, read, listen to music or nap–find what works for you and commit to doing it regularly.


Try out a few of these ideas. Making small changes in your life and your routine can have a big impact on improving your mood and overall sense of well-being. And the great thing about starting now and feeling better is that you’ll be more likely to continue it throughout the year!


What summer self-care practice speaks to you? Is there one you know would be good for you but seems especially hard? That can be a great reason to enlist the help of a therapist! Mental health professionals can help you work on making changes in your life that feel good, while also providing support and guidance. Together you can overcome internal obstacles, improve your self-esteem and achieve new life goals. Contact us today to get started!

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