Many people think of summer as break time. The kids are out of school, but that doesn’t mean your life is automatically on pause. In fact, summer presents numerous opportunities and is the perfect season for leisure, outdoor activities, and self-care. The longer sunny days and warmer weather allow for change, so you can switch up your daily routine. Enjoy what summer has to offer and simultaneously take care of your mental health.
According to a recent survey, roughly 81% of Americans plan to travel at least once this summer. This survey accounted for all forms of travel, both interstate, national, and international plans. Traveling is a great way to reduce stress and take a break from the constant go-go-go pace of life. You don’t necessarily have to vacation and put your life on pause in order to take care of your mental health, though. There are many self-care practices that help you break from everyday routines, and you can incorporate them into your life this summer. Experiment with the following summer-inspired self-care practices and see which one works best for you.
Buy Summer Clothes That Fit
There are many people who struggle with body image issues, and the summer months can create more distress. A lot of people may not want to wear clothing that reveals more of their bodies, for example, shorts, swimwear, and more. If this describes you, show yourself some compassion and find comfortable clothing to start. Loose clothing that breathes is the best for summer! It’s perfectly okay if your body isn’t “summertime fine;” rather, many experts encourage working towards body neutrality, which you can learn more about by clicking here. Regardless of your appearance, find clothes that fit your body, as opposed to trying to fit into ones from past summers.
Take Time To Breathe
This seems easier said than done, but breathing is a beneficial technique that may aid stress reduction. Deep breathing exercises, such as diaphragmatic breathing, can help you normalize pulse rate and even reduce blood pressure. According to research, diaphragmatic breathing can help to cleanse your blood of lactic acid, which can cause anxious feelings. It also assists with the release of serotonin, the feel-good neurotransmitter, into the bloodstream. Finally, deep breathing can increase alpha brain waves, which deliver a sense of calm.
Make the most of warm weather and go outside during the summer months. Try to avoid the hottest times of the day, instead choosing times of the day that provide sunshine but milder temperatures. Many therapists say that going for daily walks, especially in nature, is one of the best self-care practices. A 2018 review of analyzed data from existing studies confirmed that spending time outdoors immediately lowers stress levels. Outdoor walks in green spaces are very effective at calming the mind. Keep yourself accountable by logging your daily walks on a calendar. Seeing your streak will help you maintain the habit.
Move…But In Ways That Are Fun
You don’t necessarily have to exercise day in and day out during the summer, but movement is a great way to care for yourself. Summer presents numerous opportunities to move, both indoors and outdoors. That means that you don’t have to force yourself to do something that makes you uncomfortable. If you don’t want to hit the gym, opt for an outdoor workout like swimming, hiking, or jogging. Consider an outdoor yoga class or a pickup game of basketball. Body confidence coaches suggest asking yourself: “What brought me joy as a child during the summer?” Most of the time, these are things that you can do as an adult, so do them!
Socialize In Real Life
Remember when people got together to catch up, converse, share laughs, cry, and more together? A great way to care for your mental health is to practice being in the moment. Instead of spending time on social media, socialize in real life with family members or friends. Plan some pool parties, barbecues, or time together at the beach or lake to encourage a social gathering. According to research, friendships have a positive association with overall satisfaction. Nurture those connections and you’ll see how much better you feel.