5 Ways to Support and Improve Your Mental Health This Summer

Summertime is here and for many people, it has a natural way of boosting our mood. How has your mood been in the last couple of weeks? If it has been quite good, then definitely savour that and bring curiosity to how that feels inside.  If you’ve had some extra stress lately, maybe some anxiety or overwhelm, you’re not alone. You might’ve had some low mood symptoms, as it’s not uncommon, even when the weather is warmer. From a mindfulness perspective, all of these mood states and emotions are welcome and viable moments to which to bring mindful attitudes of non-judgment, gentle curiosity, acceptance and compassion. In this blog post, we will discuss five ways to maintain or improve your mental health this summer. So read on and hopefully you’ll get a wave of motivation or inspiration.

Go Outside

One way to improve and support your mental health this summer is to get outside and enjoy the weather. As we always advocate, spend time in nature, go for walks or hikes, and soak up some vitamin D. By spending 10-30 minutes in direct sunlight a few times a week, you can make sure your body is getting most of the vitamin D it needs naturally.

The fresh air and sunshine will do wonders for your mood and overall sense of wellbeing. Physical activity also facilitates better quality sleep better at night, and everyone knows that getting proper rest is essential for good mental health.

Make Time for Yourself

Another way to improve your mental health is to make time for yourself. Whether it's floating on a floaty, taking a relaxing bath, reading your favourite book, or getting a massage, find time to do things that make you happy. You deserve it.

Are you wondering where to start? Do an internet search for this year's hottest beach reads, summer self-care tips, or where to find a local massage therapist. The benefits of taking time for yourself include less stress and a calmer mind.

Connect with Loved Ones

Besides taking care of yourself, it's also important to stay connected with loved ones. Spending time with family and friends can help reduce stress and improve your mood. Make sure to schedule some quality time with your loved ones this summer.

As a bonus, plan outdoor events for gathering with the ones you love. Have a pool party or head to a beach and throw some hotdogs on the grill. Camping or cottaging can also be fun for so many! These activities will get you outside in the fresh air which is regulating for our nervous systems, while also connecting with friends and family.

Start or Get Back into a Hobby

If you're looking for a more active way to support your mental health, consider taking up a new hobby or activity. Novelty is amazing for our mental health and keeps our brain spry. Doing something that you enjoy can help reduce stress and improve your mood. Whether it's playing tennis, biking, or hiking, playing pickleball, knitting, scrapbooking, cooking a new recipe, find an activity that you love and stick with it.

Summer is a great time to take an art class, join a book club, pick up pickleball or learn to play a musical instrument. Look for an activity you enjoy and get started today.

Be Mindful

Finally, one of the best ways to enhance your mental health is to simply be mindful of your thoughts and emotions. Pay attention to how you're feeling and why you're feeling that way. Notice any negative thought patterns and see if you can choose to focus on thoughts that serve you and support your ability to feel confident, calm, centred, courageous, curious and compassionate.

Writing in a journal is an excellent way to practice mindfulness. You can buy a journal, use the notes section of your phone or create a voice memo. A journal also gives you a safe place to acknowledge any negative thoughts or challenging emotions by getting them out of your head and expressing them.  Mindful awareness and expression of them can often cause them to shift and change. If your attention jumps ahead to the end of the summer, simply notice and note that, and bring your attention back to the present moment by paying attention to whatever is happening internally and/or externally. Each time you bring your attention back to the present moment, it’s like a bicep curl for your attention, which ultimately builds your capacity to be fully here, more of the time.

There you have it - five ways to support and nurture your mental health this summer. Which one will you start with? Hopefully, this blog has inspired you in some, way, shape or form to take care of yourself and have the best summer yet.