It’s easy to see why countless people regard summer as their favorite time of year. Consistently agreeable weather, good travel conditions and ample opportunities for outdoor recreation make the summer months a prime period for fun. However, despite the many good things that summertime brings, it’s entirely possible to fall prey to depression, anxiety and other mental health afflictions during everyone’s favorite season. So, if you’ve been regarding mental health care as an afterthought, there’s no better time to rectify this. Anyone looking to improve their mental health this summer – and for the foreseeable future – will be well-served by the following pointers.
Many people write therapy off as the exclusive domain of people who suffer from glaringly obvious psychological afflictions. The way these individuals figure it, suffering in silence is the same as not suffering at all. In addition to being incredibly misguided, this type of thinking actively contributes to the sigma society places on mental illness. No matter obvious – or severe – your mental health issues are, you’re likely to benefit from speaking to a good therapist.
The right therapist can help you identify the root causes of various issues, recognize triggers and come to grips with longstanding trauma. In addition, most therapists will provide you with invaluable advice for improving your mental health long-term. Furthermore, if your schedule doesn’t allow you to attend therapy sessions in person, simply seek out remote options. For example, Prairie State residents can find plenty of convenient options for online therapy Illinois.
Maintain a Consistent Sleep Schedule
Proper sleep is vitally important to both your physical health and psychological well-being. Consistently getting a good night’s sleep can help you maintain a positive mindset, manage stress efficiently and tackle the many challenges the waking world is bound to throw your way. With this in mind, make a point of getting between seven and eight hours of sleep every night. If you’ve grown accustomed to keeping a haphazard or inconsistent sleep schedule, this is liable to seem like a tall order. Fortunately, with a little bit of practice and follow-through, you should be able to successfully alter your sleep schedule within weeks.
Some of us have trouble falling asleep at a decent hour because our brains remain active and alert well into the wee hours. In an effort to nip this in the bud, take care to engage in relaxing activities in the lead-up to bedtime. Thirty minutes to one hour before settling down for the night, shut off your various screens and do things that prepare your mind and body for sleep. Such activities include meditation, deep breathing exercises and reading. If you continue to have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, discuss possible causes and treatment options with your doctor.
If you’ve never been a fan of regular exercise, physical fitness may seem like an unlikely mental health aid. However, regular exercise has been found to reduce anxiety and depression and improve one’s overall outlook – among many other benefits. On the physical side of things, exercising on a consistent basis is conducive to maintaining a healthy weight and increasing longevity. As such, try to engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise each day.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you’ll need to work out to the point of exhaustion. For example, daily walks, jogs or hikes can have a tremendous impact on your overall health and provide you with ample opportunities to enjoy some fresh air. Alternatively, if you’re not a fan of outdoor exercise, consider investing in a good treadmill, stair-climber or any other piece of fitness equipment that relates to your preferred workout activity. If you’re unclear on what type of fitness regimen is right for you, your doctor may be able to recommend the ideal workout routine for someone of your age, height and weight.
Many of us have an unfortunate habit of placing mental healthcare on the backburner. However, the longer we allow psychological afflictions to go untreated, the more likely they are to cause lasting damage to both physical and mental well-being. Because we live in a society that actively encourages burnout in both our professional and personal lives, we’ve grown accustomed to the notion that mental health problems should be endured in silence. In the interest of breaking free of this damaging mindset, put the tips discussed above to good use this summer.