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With long, sunny days and more flexible schedules, summertime can mean less stress and more time to practice self-care. While that sounds great—and it is—changes in routine, extra distractions, and pressure to always be on the go can also bring some unforeseen challenges. Perhaps you might find that you’re overextending yourself, sacrificing alone time, or putting your regular self-care routine on the back-burner. These things can start happening without you even realizing they are, opening the door to flare-ups in physical and mental health issues. In this article, I share five tips for practicing summer self-care so you can enjoy the warmer months without sacrificing your well-being.
1. Maintain a consistent sleeping schedule
Sleep and mental health go hand-in-hand. It’s well known that mental health conditions like depression and anxiety can cause sleep problems. What’s not as well known is the fact that sleep disturbances can play a significant role in the development and exacerbation of mental health problems. That’s why it’s important to continue prioritizing sleep throughout the summer and try your best to maintain a consistent sleep schedule. For example, plan to be in bed by 11 pm every night and up by 8 am. Find what works for you and try to stick to it! 2. Regularly check in with yourself
With the nice weather and abundance of activities and distractions, summer can cause you to fall out of touch with your feelings. To ensure you’re paying attention to your emotions, find time, ideally every day, to check in with yourself for ten to 20 minutes or so. You can do this by writing down your thoughts and emotions in a journal, sitting in meditation, or openly talking to someone you trust about how you’re feeling. If you realize that something is bothering you or that something isn’t working well for you, make a plan to address it as soon as you can. 3. Set boundaries to avoid over-commitment
Just as summer can be a season of self-care, it can also be a season of over-commitment and burnout. Between BBQs, parties, drinks with friends, vacations, outdoor activities, and your children’s busy summer schedule, it’s easy to spread yourself too thin. Just like any time of year, it’s important to set boundaries. This could include choosing specific days you’ll leave open, setting a maximum number of activities you’ll say yes to per day/week, or simply turning down invitations when you feel like you need rest or alone time. Remember, it’s okay to say no!
4. Spend time outside
Summertime is made for spending time outdoors. Not only is being in the fresh air and sunshine fun, but it can do a world of good for your mental health. Some ideas include going on a hike, going to the beach, playing outside with your dog or kids, watching a sunset, reading a book outside, gardening, having a picnic, or swimming in a lake.
5. Give yourself a break
When I say “give yourself a break,” I mean that in more ways than one. Firstly, give your body and mind a break by allowing yourself to truly kick back, rest, and recuperate. Secondly, give yourself a break by not being so hard on yourself. Cut yourself some slack if you skip doing laundry in lieu of taking a nap or have to back out of a commitment with a friend. Your laundry and friend aren’t going anywhere, so be easy and kind with yourself if things don’t happen exactly as you planned. Make this summer a season of self-care
Even small changes, like the ones discussed in this article, can lead to big improvements in your mood and well-being. Enjoy your summer, but don’t forget to take care of yourself along the way.
The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this page are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this post is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics, including but not limited to the benefits of mental healthcare, wellness and nutrition. It is not intended to provide or be a substitute for professional mental health advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is not a substitute for a relationship with a licensed mental health practitioner. Always seek the advice of your therapist, physician or other licensed mental health professional with any questions you may have regarding a mental health condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional mental health advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this page.