It’s summertime, the time of year to take in some sun, relax, and plan vacations.
However, many of us can be overwhelmed, exhausted, and counting the days until Fall during the summer months. Summer can bring a lack of routine and increased pressed to enjoy the warmer months. Due to these factors, summer can increase our feelings of stress, anxiety, and even depression.
Although Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is more common in the Winter months, affecting about 4-6% of the population, about 10% of that group also experiences summer anxiety and depression (OC Health Psych, 2022). The longer days, higher temperatures, and changes in schedule could be factors. Prioritizing your mental health can decrease stress and anxiety and make the most out of your time this summer.
Here are 4 ways to prioritize your mental health this Summer:
1. Go Outside
Spending time in the sunshine is the best way get your Vitamin D. Vitamin D builds and maintains healthy bones, supports immune health, and improves muscle function and brain cell activity. Low levels of vitamin D increase your risk for diseases such as cancer, osteoporosis, and high blood pressure, as well as increase your risk of various mental health disorders including depression and schizophrenia. So, spending time outside each day is a great way to boost your mood and manage your overall health.
Exercise and getting active can have a substantial impact on your mental health. Exercise decreases stress hormones like cortisol, while simultaneously increasing dopamine, serotonin, and our bodies “feel good” endorphins. This provides people with natural ways to reduce feelings of anxiety and depression but also improves sleep patterns, memory, concentration, and self–control. Spending at least 30 minutes each day, 3-4 times a week engaging in your favorite form of physical activity has great benefits.
3. Practice Being Present
Being present can look like yoga, deep breathing, meditation, guided imagery, and techniques that calm and focus the mind. This is called mindfulness and has been shown to increase self-esteem, improve sleep, and reduce chronic pain. It also reduces stress, anxiety, and depression by engaging all the senses and increasing awareness. There are many apps you can check out to get started with this practice.
4. Create a routine
Creating a summer routine can help the days run smoothly during the hotter months. Keeping consistent sleep-wake times can leave you feeling calmer and energized. Incorporating time each week to be active, family dinners and consistent lunch and/or nap routines are examples of simple routines this summer.
This summer, prioritize you! Additionally, seeking out a mental health counselor if these tips become difficult is a great way to focus on your mental health. Finding a therapist to help you identify stressors, work towards goals, and stay balanced can help you experience a healthier, happier, and more meaningful summer.
For mental health support services, we are here to help. Contact us today.
About Evan W. Smith Funeral Services: Since 2009, residents of Wilmington, Dover, and the surrounding Delaware community have relied on the caring staff at Evan W. Smith Funeral Services to help them through their darkest hours. Family-owned and operated, the company offers an array of elite funeral care services, including traditional funerals, cremations, memorials, pre-planning, grief counseling, and more. With decades of experience in caring for families from all cultural backgrounds and diverse walks of life, Evan W. Smith Funeral Services is committed to creating memorable, uplifting experiences that always exceed expectations. For more information, please visit www.ewsmithfs.com.