After a long, harsh winter, we warmly welcome the summer months! This season provides us several opportunities to practice good mental health. Here are some tips to improve your mental health and make the most of the summer:
Exposure to the sun is the most natural form of vitamin D. If we get too little of it, it can lead to symptoms of depression. Being outdoors decreases anxiety and increases the production of serotonin levels in our body, a neurotransmitter linked to the experience of pleasure. That means sunshine is good for our mental health! What are some activities you enjoy doing outside?
Being active for 30 minutes a day has been shown to have significant benefits to our physical and mental health. Going for a walk or a run would be a great way to get outside and enjoy the outdoors. Others may prefer a sport like tennis or pickle ball. A bicycle ride, rollerblading, or taking the dog for a walk are all good options as well. There are so many ways to work some physical activity into your schedule to help your mental health! What type of exercise would motivate you to enjoy the outdoors this summer?
Plan a vacation
Vacations can mean long trips with your family or just a short break for a few days on your own. The important thing is to plan a getaway, whether it’s for a couple weeks or a weekend. Vacations offer an opportunity for us to spend some time on self-care and relationships. They give us the chance to take a break from the daily routines we’ve established at work and home to explore and enjoy the world, which is a great way to boost mental health. Do you have a favorite vacation spot? Or would you like to plan a vacation to somewhere new? This summer could be a great time to make it happen.
Set a personal goal
The new year is not the only time to set goals. If you are like most, you may not have stuck to the goals you set for yourself at the beginning of the year. If you didn’t set a goal, now would be an excellent time to invest in yourself and in turn improve your mental health. Working toward goals gives us a sense of focus and accomplishment. Are there any personal goals you would like to strive for this summer?
Invest more time and energy into relationships
In colder climates, it's not uncommon to rarely see your neighbors. As soon as the snow starts to melt and the weather warms up, neighbors are outside walking, mowing the lawn, socializing, etc. We have a tendency to have more energy in the summer, and one way to increase mood is to invest some of that energy into relationships. Building relationships with our neighbors, friends, and family increases our sense of belonging and enhances our well-being. Which relationships would you like to invest in this summer?
Take time for reflection, prayer, or meditation
There are few things more beautiful than a North Dakota or Minnesota sunset on a summer night. Sunsets are the perfect opportunity for us to spend some time in reflection or spiritual thought. Meditating whether in a spiritual sense or just to check in with yourself is one of the easiest ways to improve our mental health. If sunsets aren’t your thing, are there other times throughout the day where you can unplug and practice solitude?