The sun is out, the weather is warm, and the kids are off of school. Summer is in full swing. It is the perfect time to take the opportunity to care for yourself and make great strides in improving your mental health.
Being cooped up in your home for the last few months, escaping the elements, has probably left you feeling not so great. Chances are you haven’t really felt like getting out or doing much. You have been immersed in the stress of school, work, and life. Summer is a great time to put those stressors on hold and get out of the house. Here are some things you can do to get some extra sunshine and a little TLC for your soul:
1.) Take a daily walk: Whether it be with your family, friends, or by yourself. Make it a personal goal to walk outside a few times a week. The fresh air will make you feel better with the added bonus of endorphins released through exercise.
2.) Move meals outside: Try eating lunch or dinner outside. It is a nice change of pace, a great time to relax away from modern technology, and cleanup will be easier.
3.)Plan a weekend getaway: Maybe it is just a night in a tent in the woods, or a trip to the beach—regardless it will be a great time to bond, to play, to escape the pressures of the day-to-day.
4.)Plant a garden: Gardening can be very therapeutic. It is a time to focus your energy into beautifying your home, or growing food for your family. It allows you to escape from the indoors while doing something positive and healthy.
5.) Read a book outside: Getting lost in a book is great for the soul to begin with, but getting lost in one while listening to the birds, getting a tan, and feeling the breeze takes it up a notch.
6.) Take a hike or biking trip: Become one with the outdoors. It is a great reminder that the world is so much bigger than us. It makes all our problems seem smaller and it is refreshing.
7.) Be spontaneous: The nice thing about summer is there is so much to do, and so much more freedom to do it. You don’t have to be home early to put the kids to bed, or get up to get them off to school. You don’t have to worry about homework. It is a great time to explore the area you live.
8.) Make a summer bucket list, cut it up and put it in a jar: Whenever you are unsure of how to spend the day pick something out of the jar and go do it. Make the most of this time. Life stresses won’t go away but we can forget about them for a little while and take the time to focus in on what really matters—time together.
However you choose to spend your summer is up to you, but try not to let the opportunity for some extra time in the sun pass you by.
Author: Alison Pidgeon, LPC
Alison is the Founder and CEO of Move Forward Counseling, a boutique private practice for women with three locations in Lancaster County, PA. She is passionate about reducing the stigma related to accessing mental health services. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.