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The summer months offer us a great opportunity to give our mental health a bit of a boost. Here are a few ideas:
Getting involved in exercise this summer
Lots of studies have shown that taking part in as little as 30 minutes a day exercise can have a positive impact on our mental health. The motivation to get involved in exercise is made all the easier in the summer. Why? Because of the weather. When the sun is shining and at the very least it is not lashing down with rain, finding the will to move our bodies is just that little more easier. Whether that is summoning up the strength to head to the gym or even just getting out of the front door for a bit of stroll.
It doesn’t really matter what you do, it is just doing it that counts. Of course this can be tough, especially if you are not in a good place. Yet with self compassion and care we may be able to get ourselves to at least try. There is no need to rush. A little at a time can really start things off in a positive way. It all helps, it all has a positive impact.
For me it’s all about heading to the pool when it gets too hot. I tell myself I am only going there to cool off. Then before I know it I’m swimming about and thus exercising! Nine times out of ten I come away in a better state of mind. I doubt I will be doing the same in the winter, but that’s ok. The main thing is giving it a go.
I watch a lot of TV. And I mean a lot. I love documentaries and I am a total sucker for all those series my friends recommend watching on Netflix. It can be not such a positive habit and dare I say sometimes a distraction from dealing with some of the issues I face, especially when it comes to my mental health. That’s ok, the main thing is that I am aware of that fact. This means I can do something about it.
For me, this comes in the form of getting back into reading during the summer. I do this by making the most of the warm evenings. The TV stays off and I head outside with a good book and maybe some very chill music. We don’t have much in terms of room out there but the fact is, an old camp chair is all I need. Sometimes for a change of scenery I head to a quiet spot in the park, dragging an old picnic blanket with me.
I also do a lot of contemplation. Reading puts my mind in a good place. From this good place it is easier for me to maybe look at some of the issues I am facing, sit with my thoughts and make sense of things. Something I find nigh on impossible when sat in front of the TV. I have so many books on my reading list I will be able to keep this up right until the nights draw in. I am really enjoying it so I will try my very best to keep it up.
If you are not a big reader, you can always give audiobooks a whirl or delve into the realm of graphic novels, there is some get stuff out there!
The amazing thing about getting away is the fact that you don’t actually have to go far to do it. You don’t have to get on a plane, you don’t even have to get on a train. You can even get away without leaving your house. It is all a question of creativity. What is essential here is breaking out of the routine, even if it is just for a few days.
It is amazing the positive impact this can have on our mental health. It can make big differences in how we see ourselves and the lives we lead. Sometimes it can be so easy to thinking that we have to do something big to ‘get away’ but we really don’t
I am not going on holiday this year. I am having a ‘staycation’. And in the truest sense of the term I am really not going anywhere. And that really doesn’t matter. I’ve got a week off work and I’ve decided to chuck the routine completely out of the window.
My plan is that I am going to make the most of the area I live in. Get out there and explore. Do all the things that I just don’t do or have never done. There is a restaurant I have never been to, I’m going to go there! There is this amazing looking coffee shop that everyone seems to hang out in at like 11am on a tuesday? I’m going to do that. I’m going to stay out late, call on old friends, jump on the local train to some random place. All the things I just never do because of my routine.
Struggling with anxiety as I have. Throwing the routine out of the window is always difficult. It can be a bit of an anchor for me at times. And I know its the same for lots of others. Not being ‘away’ will make it even harder. But with determination I am going to try. If I fail here or there that is ok. In any case it will be a positive exercise for my mental wellbeing?
Is there anywhere local you have yet to explore? Could a bit of staycation be the excuse you are looking for?
Make the most of that extra summer sunlight
When it is light first thing in the morning I find it so much easier to get out of bed. In the winter, I really struggle. If I am honest, the weather can have a big impact on my mental health. When it’s cold and dark outside it can sometimes feel cold and dark on the inside too. Therefore during the summer I try to make the most of this ‘ready made’ positivity by just doing more. And it kind of works. It’s just easier to be more ‘up beat’ somehow. I know ‘winter is coming’ (Still obsessed with GOT, its been how long now, since it finished? Come on!) and I will have to make some serious effort then to maintain positive mental health. But for the moment, its ‘hello Sun, Hello summer and hello positivity’.
How much of an impact does the weather have on your mental health?