Monthly Wellness Corner - May 2024

May 1, 2024

5 Habits to Augment Your Mental Health this Summer

As the summer months quickly approach, we begin to reminisce on the fun memories of summers past. The increased opportunities for moments in the sunshine can be exciting for some, but overwhelming for others.

Seasonal depression is a depressive episode that is often associated with late fall through winter, but many will experience this through the summer months. There are expectations of being “summer body” ready and being more openly available to the activities that the summertime dictates we include ourselves in. This can be overwhelming for many. Here are some self-care tips to incorporate throughout the summer to manage some of these stressors.

1. Preserve Your Sleep Hygiene

Although there is an abundance of daylight during the summer months, this should not encourage us to sleep less. Sleep has been shown to have a significant impact on mental health and not getting an average of 8-10 hours of sleep a night will compromise one’s daily functioning. Sleep hygiene can be improved by setting a sleeping schedule, not completing work related tasks in the bedroom space, and avoiding keeping one’s smart phone near their bed at night.

2. Spend Some Time in the Sunshine

Natural sunlight has been shown to increase one’s vitamin D and serotonin levels. Taking the time to go out and engage in an outdoor hobby like hiking, gardening, and/or swimming can have a positive impact on one’s mood. This could also be a great opportunity to spend time with pets and practice a mindfulness mediation!

3. Stick to Your Boundaries

We may be presented with many opportunities to participate in this summer. You don’t have to say yes to every single one! Take a step back and ask yourself, what are my motivations for saying yes? If the answer lies in anything but one’s own interest in participating, perhaps we should politely decline this opportunity. Take quality time with yourself when needed to recharge.

4. Make a Fun Summer Playlist

Music can be a great way to improve your mood. Put a playlist together of fun/comforting songs to play on a summer road trip or while relaxing at home. Maybe this summer you can even start to learn how to play a new instrument and play your favorite songs yourself?

5. Start or Continue your Journaling

Writing can be a great outlet to express your feelings or experiences that you have had throughout your day. Journaling will help you identify your feelings and keep track of how often you feel happy, sad, angry, etc. This can be done through writing a short story, a poem, or a song. Who knows, maybe your poetry will make you the next Taylor Swift?!

Cheers to a successful and happy summer everyone!

-Brian Olivas, Penny Lane Centers