By: Dr. Nicole Linardi, LMHC
Summertime is considered a time for relaxation, recalibration and travel, am I right? For many traveling may be a family, individual, friends or couples yearly event. Traveling or vacation encompasses spending time away from the normal routine of work, school, and home life (so to speak). Taking a "break" from the routine. Oftentimes, vacation and travel is sought out and looked forward to, a luxury. On the other hand, for others it may be a part of their lifestyle, culture and yearly plans.
Whatever this summertime brings to you, your relationships, and families-- traveling and vacationing can happen even close to home, a "staycation". This blog will give you 5 tips on how to enjoy your summertime and still be mindful of your mental health.
Five Self-Care Tips to Maintain Mental Health During Summer
The warmth, relaxation and flexibility that the summer months bring can be exciting for vacations and sunshine, but for some, summer months can have the potential to trigger feelings of being overwhelmed, losing control or even FOMO (fear of missing out). Expectations of being carefree can put a lot of pressure on those who are struggling with their mental health (depression, anxiety, impulsive spending, addiction, etc). Below are self-care tips and tricks that can be used to maintain your mental health during this season, summertime 2022.
Self-Care Tip #1: Take care of your mental health this summer by getting outside.
Exposure to natural sunlight increases levels of vitamin D and serotonin, which are known to boost your mood. Taking a moment to step outdoors, smell the roses, feel the sand under your toes or watch a sunset can provide a sense of calming and well being. Pick up a new outdoor hobby where you can spend 30 minutes in the sunshine. Whether it is gardening, hiking or paddle boarding, spending time outdoors is an essential element of self-care.
Self-Care Tip #2: Take time to unwind by using your vacation time.
Many of us use paid vacation time to accomplish tasks around the house that we neglect during our busy workweeks. And thats great, very time effective, however this isn't the point of a vacation! Instead of cleaning out the closet, organizing the garage and attending long-overdue appointments, use your vacation to enjoy yourself. Such activities can include reading a book at home or traveling to a new place for the day. Your vacation time should be spent unwinding and enjoying time away from your to-do lists.
Self-Care Tip #3: Re-focus your energy by planning a getaway.
Getting out of town and experiencing a change in scenery is a great way to unwind and re-focus your energy on the present. Whether it is an overnight getaway or a multi-week international trip, escaping the business from the daily grind can help clear your mind and boost your mood. This can help you immensely on your return home back to your everyday routine.
Self-Care Tip #4: Maintain a healthy sleep schedule for mental health.
Just because school is out for summer and your kids can stay up late and sleep in, does not mean they should. If you are a parent, try to maintain a healthy and steady sleep schedule for yourself and your kids, regardless of work and school schedules. It is recommended that we obtain 8-10 uninterrupted hours of sleep, as sleep hygiene is an essential component of our mental health.
Self-Care Tip #5: Stay physically active.
Whether it is going to the gym, signing up for a yoga class or taking a walk outside, physical activity is known to boost your mood. During the summer months, it is easy to stay on the couch and binge-watch the latest television series, but an idle activity can promote negative consequences on our physical and mental health. Try to maintain 20-30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise each day. You may be surprised how good you feel.
Enjoy your summertime!
My hours have changed a bit due to my little mini-me, however if we have a set appointment schedule, then you are good to go! For now I am in the office Wednesdays and Fridays and I work from home (telehealth) on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.
I look forward to seeing you all this summer.
with lots of love,