There’s a general idea that when the weather’s nice, people are automatically happy. But as anyone who has ever struggled with their mental health can tell you, that’s not always the case!
The summer months can be just as hard as any other time of year, which is why we’re here to help in January, July, and every month in between. Take control of your mental well-being and bring your mind a well-needed boost with our top tips for keeping happy during the summer.
Get Outdoors (When It’s Not Raining!)
Summer provides plenty of opportunities to get outside. When it’s not raining, make the most of the warmer temperatures by leaving the house and soaking up some rays.
You don’t have to spend all day outdoors, either, with one study finding that just 2 hours of time amongst nature leads to a drastic boost in psychological well-being.
When the weather’s grey and drizzly, think of activities you can do outside the house. With no college, University, or work to keep you busy, it’s smart to get out at least once a day to boost your mood. Some great rainy-day activities include:
- Going to the cinema
- Going to the indoor swimming pool
- Browsing bookshops
- Going to a cafe
Stay on Top of Your Physical Health
Your physical and mental health are closely linked. Looking after your body is an important part of self-care and investing the time in both aspects of your health is bound to help you feel better all year round!
With that in mind, write up a summer checklist of health to-do’s. This could include seeing your GP about an issue you’ve been putting off, making sure you drink enough water every day, or heading for a sexual health checkup with a professional. Keep your body healthy and your mind will thank you.
Cut Down on Screen Time
You might feel tempted to spend most of your time inside glued to a screen, especially if the weather is poor. But, endless social media scrolling or bingeing Netflix isn’t necessarily the best activity for your mental well-being.
One study, for example, found a direct link between increased time spent on the computer and a rise in anxiety and depression. Though it’s not clear whether it’s the screen time itself or the fact that too much of your day spent online can lead to loneliness, it’s not good in large quantities.
Try to cut down on the amount of time you spend glued to digital devices. Keep track of your phone screen time, limit yourself to just 1 or 2 episodes of your favourite show, and find activities to keep you occupied that aren’t screen-based. That could include reading, cooking, or chatting with family and friends.
Stay Socially Connected
Whether you’re not at college/University or you’ve taken some time off work, it can be easy to let your social life slip in the summer. But loneliness can cause existing mental health issues to worsen.
Make an effort to keep up connections with friends and family. That doesn’t mean you have to see people every day (‘alone time’ is important, too) but try to attend the odd social occasion. If you haven’t got any upcoming dates in your calendar then take the initiative and organise some get-togethers to fill your social diary.
What if you don’t have people to spend time with? Don’t worry, there are lots of ways you can meet people! Head to local groups in your area for activities you’re interested in and be ready to put yourself out there, making connections that might last a lifetime.
Stick to a Sleep Routine
Hot weather, holidays, and the odd late night under the stars can all mess with your sleep. Try to stick to a routine when you’re not busy. Getting enough rest has a big impact on your mental well-being, affecting mood and focus, and not sleeping well is known to make existing mental illnesses worse.
Stop tips to maintain a healthy sleep schedule include:
- Knowing how many hours of sleep you need to feel your best
- Setting an alarm to wake at the same time every day
- Going to bed at the same time every night (when possible)
- Maintaining a nighttime routine to help you wind down
Learning to prioritise sleep might be tricky, but it’ll be well worth it for your long-term mental health.
Start a Summer Journal
Journaling is a fantastic way to process your feelings and a good rainy-day activity for the Great British Summer. Give it a go, starting with writing a few lines every day about things you did/thought/felt that stood out to you. This is a brilliant opportunity for a bit of self-reflection, letting you assess behaviour patterns and work out what’s important in your life, as well as what you can let go of.
Learn How to Say No
If you’re invited to a lot of events or get-togethers this summer, you don’t have to say yes to all of them. Set aside some days in advance that you’ll keep free for yourself or your close family, with no planned activities in the diary. Become confident saying no, as well, without having to make up an excuse. Simply say instead that you’re taking some time out for your mental health, and your loved ones will understand.
Stay on top of your well-being this summer and watch yourself thrive. If you feel as if your mental health is slipping, and you’d like to get in touch, then we can help to support you. It’s always important to take your mental health seriously, so don’t be afraid to reach out if you’re feeling low – we are here to help!