With the excessive heat, rising inflation, and kids home for the summer, taking care of our mental health is frequently put on the back burner, but this neglect can have dire consequences for our well-being. Summer is a perfect time to dedicate a little more time to self-care and attend to your emotional fluctuations.
A Mental Health First Aid checklist can benefit your busy summer by offering ideas of brief activities you can engage in to help stabilize and balance your mood. I have compiled six suggestions to help you reinvest in your interests and enjoy a summer of refreshing wellness.
1. Undertake a morning or evening walk. A long walk can help you feel less anxious and overwhelmed, and morning or evening is best time to beat the draining heat. Additionally, walking with a friend boosts your feelings of connectedness, further increasing your well-being.
2. Dedicate 10 minutes to meditation or sitting in a quiet chapel or library. Quiet time to daydream or zone out assists in calming your body and restores equilibrium. This stillness promotes deeper breathing and reduces impulsive reactions to overwhelming situations.
3. Tidy up one small area of your home or office. Engaging in a weekly sprucing up routine reduces stress and encourages organization. When we feel organized, it boosts both confidence and our sense of being in the driver’s seat of our moods.
4. Visit a local farmers market. No need to spend a lot of money! Walking through a farmers’ market offers a great opportunity to make healthier choices with fresh fruits and vegetables. Did you know that smelling fresh fruits and vegetables helps slow down the mind? Better yet, it’s less chaotic than a trip to the grocery store. Farmers’ markets are kid friendly, too.
5. Make a summer "feel good’ playlist. Music comforts and heals our body and mind. Creating an easily accessible playlist consisting of your favorite tunes offers a quick and easy way to alleviate overwhelming worry. Music is utilized as a grounding technique by medical facilities to lessen patient stress when in crisis.
6. Execute a weekly needs assessment. Tracking your success helps mitigate negative thoughts throughout the week. Create a weekly questionnaire and include questions which allow you to assess and reflect upon your week’s progress, identifying areas you’d like to improve upon. Discovering areas of weakness in your personal care aids improvement efforts. Need more sleep? Adjust your bedtime the following week. Not socializing enough? Plan to meet a friend. Eliminate obstacles (meaningless activities you feel forced to do) and replace them with activities of interest to you – including pursuing new interests. Your mental health is as important as your physical health. Taking care of you is not a luxury; it’s your responsibility.
Often, we recognize when we aren’t taking care of ourselves but feel discouraged by time limitations. You can add your own ideas to this self-care checklist and encourage your children to compose a list of their own. Even small changes to your routine can improve your overall mood. To achieve the best results in overall mental health this summer, focus on staying mentally and physically active and become involved in the community whenever possible. You deserve a season of self-care.