During the summer months, it can be difficult to prioritize self-care and your mental health. On the one hand, the weather is better, there is often more free time, and everyone’s moods are lifted compared to the dreary days of winter. However, along with the changes in season comes more pressure to spend time always doing stuff, change in routine due to travel or time off school, and plenty to distract you on the outside from what’s happening on the inside.
Here is a list of ways to prioritize self-care this summer.
This list isn’t meant to be followed by the book; instead, I hope it will offer you a variety of ways you can incorporate self-care into your summer (and beyond).
1. Meditate each morning
Summer can be fast-paced and it can be easy to become overwhelmed or lose touch with your inner calm. I find meditating daily is effective year-round as a self-care practice. In the summer, when I tend to be out during the day and evening more, I find it’s easiest to commit to meditating each morning before I start the day.
Remember, meditation doesn’t have to take long, there are plenty of apps that will guide you three even a 2- or 5- minute meditation. My personal favourite is called “Stop, Breathe, & Think.”
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2. Check-in through regular journaling
Some people choose to journal daily, which is great. I personally find this difficult to commit to. However, I also find if I don’t have a routine, then journaling falls by the wayside.
During the summer, as a means of reconnecting with yourself and ensuring you don’t get sidetracked by distractions, I encourage you to come up with a journaling routine. This may mean doing it in the evenings before bed or every Sunday to reflect on the past week. It doesn’t matter when you do it; it’s just about finding something that works for you and sticking with it!
During the summer, as a means of reconnecting with yourself, I encourage you to come up with a journaling routine.
3. Try a new hobby
Hobbies are great, and I am a strong advocate of creative hobbies in particular. Not only do they often give you something to learn and improve on, which can be great for self-confidence, but they also allow you to spend time doing something you love, separate from all the noise.
This summer, I took up watercolour painting. I’ve never painted in my life, but I’ve always wanted to try watercolour and I was not disappointed! The entrance cost was low compared to most hobbies, and it’s quick and easy to set-up and clean-up after. Additionally, listening to relaxing music and working on my painting has proven to be an excellent remedy for my anxiety. Some more examples of hobbies are drawing, photography, building models, RC planes/cars, wood carving, or any kind of sport. I encourage you to give these or something else a try!
Hobbies allow you to spend time doing something you love, separate from all the noise.
4. Leave your phone behind
It almost goes without saying, but take time to unplug this summer. Right now, social media is ablaze with images of “perfect” summer getaways, “bikini bodies,” ads/promotions, and, everyone’s summer highlight reels.
Take some time away from it all by unplugging, conducting a social media audit, and simply leaving your phone at home.
Take time away from everyone’s summer highlight reels by leaving your phone at home.
5. Set boundaries to avoid over-commitment
As easily as summer can be a season of self-care, it can also be a season of over-commitment and burnout. Between the BBQs, yard work, garage sales, moving, and group activities, your “come hang out” and “give me a hand” inbox can become full.
It’s important to set boundaries for yourself and your commitments in the summer. Setting boundaries could include choosing specific days you will leave open and/or setting a maximum number of activities you’ll say yes to per day/week. Remember, it’s okay to say no!
Summer can become a season of over-commitment and burnout. Remember: It’s okay to say no!
6. Spend as much time outside as you can
This may sound cliche, but spending time outside in the fresh air and sunshine is important! For me, this means setting up my work outside on the patio and taking Zoey for plenty of walks.
7. Maintain a consistent sleeping schedule
When we think of summer, we think long days and late nights. For me, nothing is worse for my mental health than an inconsistent sleep schedule. Though your routine may be different than during the Fall/Winter, I still encourage you to try having a consistent sleeping schedule.
This may mean planning to be in bed by 11 and up by 8 or it may be committing to not staying up past midnight or sleeping in past 10. Remember, it’s all about doing what works for you!
For me, nothing is worse for my mental health than an inconsistent sleep schedule.
8. Be active (but have fun!)
Despite any changes to schedule and routine, remember to stay active this summer. This doesn’t mean hitting the gym for an hour a day to work on acquiring the “perfect summer body” (we aren’t really for that here at Libero). Instead, it means spending 20+ minutes most (not “all”) days moving. This could be going for a walk or run, swimming in the ocean, playing tennis, or golfing.
In short: keep moving, do what you love, and have fun with it! (For me, that means lots of Badminton!)
9. Foster deeper connection with friends
This is probably the most terrifying item on the list for me (and that’s saying a lot considering my mild ocean-phobia!), but I cannot stress enough how important intimate connection with others is to self-care.
This summer, as you’re around people going on long hikes, hanging at the beach, or sharing a drink at sunset, I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and open up a little. Share something you haven’t shared, ask how your friends are doing, and be honest about how you are. Never underestimate the power connection can have in regards to our mental health.
Never underestimate the power connection can have in regards to our mental health.
10. Give yourself a break
Last, but definitely not least, give yourself a break this summer — I mean this in more ways than one.
First, give yourself a true break. Whether you are going on vacation or taking a staycation, allow yourself to rest and recuperate.
Second, give yourself a break by letting yourself off the hook a little. Summer is a weird time, schedules are out of the wack, the weather is nice, and there generally is more to do. So cut yourself some slack if you don’t follow through on some responsibilities or if your laundry is piling up. There will be plenty of time for laundry in the Fall!
Cut yourself some slack if you don’t follow through on some responsibilities.
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