Most of us count down the days until summer arrives. But for some people, especially those who struggle with depression and anxiety, summer can trigger stress and feelings of being overwhelmed. The increased social activities, an expectation of enjoying the season, and other social pressures can put a lot of pressure on people with anxiety. Here are some tips to help you take care of your mental health this summer.
Get Moving and Exercise
Exercise is a really great way to help alleviate anxiety. A good workout can keep the mind busy and pumps up your endorphins, which produce a feeling of happiness. Take a run outside and soak in the sun, go hiking in a local park, or ride your bike on a trail. Exercising is also a great excuse for some time to be alone for a bit but don’t be afraid to invite a friend to keep you company.
Venture Somewhere New
Sometimes you just need to escape or have a change of scenery to really unwind and promote healthy thoughts. Leave your daily routine behind for a while and recharge your mind to a new place away from the stress. Book a trip by yourself, or with a loved one or friend. Visit a nearby town you’ve never been or if you can, take time off to travel further. Getting away from the normal pressures will do you a world of good.
Take Up a New Challenge
It may seem counter intuitive, giving yourself a challenge or goal to accomplish this summer may be a unique way to improve your mood. Really step out of your comfort zone and try something new. Train for a 5K, take up a new outdoor hobby like learning how to garden, record a podcast about your favorite passions, or sign up for a yoga class. Make a plan and stick to it. Focus your attention on it and feel good once you have accomplished or completed it.
Do More of What You Love
It’s important that you take time for yourself by doing what makes you happy. Whenever you can, carve out some time just for yourself, and do something you love. Read that book you’ve been dying to get to, have dinner at your favorite restaurant or visit that great little record shop and buy an album by your favorite band. This time should be your time, and that means keeping your mind focused on what you are doing an enjoying it fully. Resist the urges to start thinking about the bad and what is causing you stress. Practice self-care this summer by doing what makes you feel good.
You may not think so, but for a lot of people, meditation works as a way to practice mindfulness and relieve stress. And, for the most part, it seems that the science behind in shows that it is effective.
Meditation is the practice of focusing your mind on a particular object, thought or activity, to achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm state. Take a few minutes each day to ease your mind and focus on something that’s happening around you. Close your eyes and listen to the sounds of birds in the trees outside, smell the summer air, or feel the warmth of the sun. Meditation will help center you and put your mind in a more relaxed state.
Summer is a time for relaxation and togetherness. But don’t be afraid to let it be a time for yourself. Maintaining a healthy self and healthy mind should be a focus for you this season. Take time for yourself, and let yourself reach a mental state that allows you to truly enjoy this time of year.