Summer is just around the corner and if your calendar is anything like mine, your summer schedule is already jam-packed with activities to keep you busy from morning until night. It’s easy to become overwhelmed and stressed with changes in your routine, the need to keep your children entertained, planning for vacations, and still managing to work, cook, clean, and run errands.
All of that added summer stress may negatively impact your mental health and well-being. Self-care plays an essential role in helping you cope with stress and maintain good mental health. Below are fifteen ways to practice self-care and nurture your mental health this summer.
Savour the Season’s Flavors
One of the best parts about summer is the flavours of the season. Nature’s summer bounty provides us with an amazing assortment of fruits and veggies to nourish our bodies, which in turn nourishes our mental health. Make a commitment to visit a farmer’s market, talk with the local vendors, and try something new each week. You can also start a backyard garden or join a community garden and spend time connecting with the earth.
Meditate While Walking
Walking meditation or mindful walking is a wonderful way to clear our minds and develop a profound connection with our bodies and the earth. Walking meditation is different from hiking. We take each step while meditating with respect, reverence, and purpose. With each step, we breathe in the beauty that surrounds us and breathe out stress, anxiety, and tension.
Talk It Out
Summer is the perfect time to reconnect with good friends and release stress over good conversation. It’s also a great time to address diagnosed mental illnesses by talking with your therapist or doctor. After all, summertime often means deviations from our normal routines. It may be helpful to conduct a mental health check-in and make sure that you’re not becoming overwhelmed and that your symptoms are under control.
Plan to Disconnect
Most of us are probably extremely connected to the world around us. We may receive work calls or emails at all hours of the day and we know what our friends and family members post on social media almost immediately. But this connection may come at a cost, because too much screentime may overstimulate us and overload our brains. Plan for some screen-free time each week to decompress and reground yourself.
Spend Time Near Water
The sound of water can do wonders for your mental health. If you are near a lake, river, or ocean, spend time listening to the sound of waves or moving water. If you prefer, go for a swim or soak. If you don’t have a natural water body of water near you, a pool, a small patio water garden, or even a desktop fountain can provide soothing sounds and visuals to help you relax.
Remember Your Inner Child
Do you remember when you were younger and summer was a time for splashing in the pool, running through the sprinkler, getting dirty, riding bikes with the wind against your face, blowing bubbles, flying kites, and just enjoying time outdoors? Channel your inner child and go out and play. Run around, get messy, laugh, and enjoy some carefree hours reliving your childhood summer fun.
Immerse Yourself in Nature
Nature may be the best medicine for your mental health. Enjoy beautiful summer days by going off the grid and surrounding yourself with nature. Watch a sunrise or a sunset, spend a few days camping, or even spend an hour or two forest bathing, a practice that encourages people to spend time in forests or other natural settings to restore their mental health.
Try Something New
Summer is also a great time for trying something new. If you’ve never gone rock climbing, surfing, or diving off the high board, now is a great time to be brave and try. If staying dry and on the ground is more your cup of tea, you can test out a new hobby, try a new recipe, or commit to trying one new food a week.
For most of us, summer can be hot and dehydrating, so drinking enough water is essential. Water and hydration don’t have to be boring. Nurture your body and your soul with some interesting new combinations. Experiment with nonalcoholic mocktails using sparkling water, make iced teas with teas from around the world or enjoy nature’s summer bounty with fruit-infused water.
Gain a New Perspective
Often, when we become stressed or overwhelmed, we see our problems as much bigger than they actually are. Going stargazing or standing on the ocean’s shore may help you gain a new perspective and realize just how small things and moments are compared to the universe as a whole. Changing your viewpoint may help you overcome whatever is overwhelming you!
Bring Your Workout Outdoors
Many of us exercise indoors on machines, in front of videos, or at the gym. Beautiful summer weather is perfect for kicking our exercise routines up a notch and bringing our workouts outdoors. Try hiking through a local, state, or national park. Grab your bike and explore your local bike paths. You can even try yoga or tai chi by a lake or in the woods.
Vacation at Home
Summer vacations don’t have to break the bank. Consider being a tourist close to home. Perhaps there is a local museum you haven’t had the chance to visit, a new vegan restaurant that just opened, or a trail you haven’t visited lately. With your family, create a summer bucket list of things to do in your town. Remember to plan a few indoor activities for days when the weather isn’t cooperating.
Feed the Birds
Around the world, climate and environmental changes are affecting the songbird population. Creating a bird sanctuary in your backyard is one small way you can help. Install bird feeders, plant some native trees and shrubs, and add a birdbath or two to pamper our winged friends. In return, you’ll enjoy hours of watching birds and hearing their beautiful songs.
Create a Self-Care Routine for You
While our everyday routines often change during the summer, it can be a great time to develop a personal self-care routine. Scheduling an hour or even fifteen minutes a day to focus on your physical and mental health may help you feel better and even make you more productive throughout the day.
Perhaps create a routine that includes waking up, exercising, taking a hot shower, sipping coffee or tea on the porch, and writing in a planner or journal. In the evening, soaking in a warm bath, diffusing some relaxing essential oils, and practising a few minutes of yoga, meditation, or deep breathing can help set the stage for a good night’s sleep.
Evening Conversations Around the Fire
Finally, summer is the perfect time for reconnecting with family and friends around the bonfire. Break out a selection of summery mocktails and some vegan marshmallows and enjoy long evenings of conversations and connections.
Chances are, your summer is full of running around, visiting family and friends, shuffling kids to lessons and activities, and working in your yard or on your house. These self-care tips may help you relax, unwind, and focus on your mental health and well-being. Remember, you are worthy of the same love and care that you give everyone else.