INDIANA – Summer officially starts on Sunday. Many of us view it as an exciting time to go out and do activities, take vacations, and spend more time outdoors. It can be a time full of excitement and happiness depending on how we spend our time. In fact, summer is a great time to invest in lifestyle habits and support your mental health. There is a science that points to summer being a time of better mental health.
How the summer affects mental health
One of the main ways the summer can help with mental health is through the sunshine. Because of the warmer weather, many of us spend more time outdoors in the summer, plus the sun is out for longer than in other seasons.
The increased sun exposure boosts our vitamin D levels, and can even improve mood, leading to better mental health. Spending time in the sun also helps your body produce more melatonin (sleep hormone) at night, allowing you to sleep better and overall feel better.
While there are some stressors unique to summer, such as feeling overwhelmed by the number of activities and getting less sleep, it is a good time for most people’s mental health. Therefore, it is a good time to set habits and prepare for the coming months that are colder and less energizing.
- Set boundaries. You don’t have to say yes to every opportunity you are presented with. Seek out the activities and plans that seem the best to you and take breaks when you need them.
- Set a sleep schedule. Maintaining a consistent sleep schedule can help ensure you get adequate sleep. One possible way to do this is by sleeping with the sun – don’t stay up for too long once it is dark outside.
- Engage in physical activity. Improving your physical health can have great benefits on your mental health. With the warmer weather comes more opportunities for outdoor exercise and play. Set a standard for how active you are now so that you will more likely find ways to stay active moving forward.
- Have fun! Making an effort to intentionally improve your mental health is beneficial, but don’t let it get in the way of your fun. Setting rhythms, including therapy if needed, are great, but you need to enjoy life too. Find a balance between responsibility and fun.
If you find yourself in need of mental health support this summer, Centerstone can help. Call 1-877-HOPE123 (877-467-3123) or visit centerstone.org/connect-with-us/ to get connected with care.