The summer months can be emotionally challenging for many people. The societal expectation of vacationing, spending time with friends at the beach, or simply kicking back and relaxing can put pressure on people who are struggling with anxiety or depression. They may feel obligated to keep up with the summer vibe regardless of how they’re feeling inside. Other people are affected by seasonal affective disorder. In this article, we identify how to improve emotional health while enjoying a pressure-free summertime.
- Practice Mindfulness
- Mindfulness Benefits
- Follow a Consistent Sleep Pattern
- Take a Technology Break
- Enjoy Me Time
- Mental Wellbeing Summary
Mindfulness simply involves taking time for yourself to breathe, think, and contemplate. When you do that, you gain control over your day, improve your self-discipline, overcome procrastination, and dismiss negative thoughts.
Mindfulness is not about eliminating every thought from your mind; that is an impossibility. Rather, it involves being present in the moment and not judging yourself. If you can do that for ten or fifteen minutes every day over the summer, you will be doing wonders for your emotional health.
To practice mindfulness, find a quiet place to sit where you won’t be disturbed. Set a time limit, beginning with just five minutes. The actual position you assume doesn’t matter, so long as you feel completely comfortable. Now focus on your breathing, taking the air in through your nostrils and feeling it travel down to your diaphragm. When your mind starts to wander, simply bring it back to your breath.
Mindfulness has become extremely popular in the last few years. The reason? It really does help you become a calmer, more relaxed, and happier person. Here are five proven benefits of mindfulness:
- It helps to reduce stress
- It improves focus
- It makes you calmer
- It makes you more productive
- It improves sleep quality
Follow a Consistent Sleep Pattern
Most people underestimate the importance of sleep for emotional health. During the summer months, it is easy to break out of our normal sleep routine. Over the school holidays, it can be tempting to allow the kids to stay up later and sleep in for longer in the morning. That often means that we tend to follow the same pattern. Doing so, however, is not a good move for the emotional health of your children or yourself.
Both too much and too little sleep can be detrimental to emotional health. Maintain a consistent sleep pattern through every season. Go to bed and get up at the same time. Try to aim for between seven to nine hours of sleep per night, depending on your requirements. To ensure good sleep quality as well as quantity, keep your technology out of your bedroom, make the room as dark as possible, and try to maintain a temperature of around 65 degrees fahrenheit (18.3 degrees celsius).
Take a Technology Break
Taking a break from social media over the summer can be a refreshing experience that boosts your emotional health. Rather than wiling away precious hours scrolling through Instagram and feeling envious about what others are doing, why not have Wifi-free days where you plan to read a complete book from cover to cover?
When you take a break from social media, the urge to compare yourself negatively to other people will be greatly reduced. When we scroll through Instagram, we tend to forget that what we’re looking at is not reality; it’s other people’s attempts to make their lives look as perfect as possible. It’s only natural to compare ourselves unfavorably to that idealized image, even if it took them a hundred shots and a healthy dose of Photoshop to get that perfect image!
When we ditch social media, we alse free ourselves from FOMO—the fear of missing out. A study that was recently published in the journal of Social and Clinical Psychology showed a direct link between the use of social media and an increase in loneliness and depression, with FOMO being a contributing factor. The study also showed that those who deliberately spend time away from social media feel more empowered and less overwhelmed.
The emotional benefits of exercise are well documented. Starting your day with some form of exercise is especially beneficial as it will pump you up, both physically and mentally, for a great day to come. All forms of exercise, from resistance training to brisk walking, will encourage the release of feel good endorphins. The very act of exercising will, in itself, make you feel more positive about yourself, especially when you set and attain mini goals, such as covering a certain distance or doing a certain number of reps.
Summer is a great time to exercise outdoors. Doing so offers even greater emotional benefits as you soak up the sun’s rays and bask in the beauty of the great outdoors. Consider joining a bootcamp, going hiking, or getting on the water with a kayak.
Enjoy Me Time
If you’ve got vacation time over the summer period, be sure to carve out a decent chunk of it as personal enjoyment time. Rather than filling every moment with a job, take a few hours each day to read a book, pursue a hobby, or get out in the garden.
If your budget allows, consider traveling over the summer. Identify an interesting town or district that you aren’t familiar with and go exploring.
Mental Wellbeing Summary
Don’t let summer get you down. By being proud of yourself as an individual and refusing to follow the script laid out by society, you can enjoy the summer months on your own terms. By practicing mindfulness, you will be able to take control of your mind, shut out negativity, and promote calmness. Maintain your normal sleep pattern, resisting the temptation to stay up late on those warm summer evenings. Taking a break from social media over summer will help you to avoid the negativity that is tied up with Instagram, Facebook, and the other online platforms. Add in regular exercise sessions and plenty of me time and you’ll be able to nourish your emotional health this summer.