As we approach July 4th and gear up for the summer, it’s also a good time to do a mental health check. There are lots of pressures that come with the warmer weather season, especially now that society seems to be moving away from the pandemic mindset that’s dominated us for so long. As we get back to some level of normalcy it’s important to remember that less truly is more during this busy season.
Here are five ways to keep your mental health in check during the summer season ahead:
1. Unplug to de-stress.
Like it or not, social media and technology have become an integral part of our lives — especially during a vacation to document the experience in real time. By turning off alerts and notifications though on devices, it will help you to de-stress. Try focusing less on technology and more on the people and places right in front of you, and strike a healthy balance between social media life and real life.
2. Sleep less on the weekends.
Although it’s tempting to sleep in, it will actually rob you of valuable time to make the most of your summer weekends. Even more so, it can affect your sleep schedule for the rest of the week (don’t underestimate the power of sleep). Instead, find reasons to get up and get going on the weekends — it doesn’t have to be anything big — perhaps it’s having a brand new experience or doing an activity you’ve never done before. Novelty is a great way to keep your mind healthy and curious.
3. Say “yes” less often.
Say “yes” less to all the potential summer activities, and prioritize the things you actually need and want to do. Too often we prioritize other people’s needs over our own — and that’s sure to lead to anxiety, resentment, and falling behind on what’s truly important. By saying “yes” less often you might actually feel better. So be selfish and put your needs first rather than those of the person asking you for something. Plan for what you really want to get out of this summer and plan to give yourself a break to make it worthwhile.
4. Worry less.
Does worrying ever really make problems go away, less intense, or prevent them from occurring? The more attention we give to worrying, the worse it makes us feel. That said, realize that worrying isn’t your friend — it’s merely a symptom of how you feel. So next time you start to worry about all the summer to-dos, ask yourself, what’s this really about? What part of this issue or problem can I control, and then take the steps to solve it. Focus on what is right in front of you, first — and nix the superfluous stressors.
5. Take shorter trips.
Traditionally, individuals and families take one long summer vacation. Although this might seem ideal and offer a hiatus of sorts from work — it can also be stressful to plan, expensive, and limited to just a week or two — while the rest of the summer is still dominated by work and daily demands. By contrast, taking several small weekend getaways throughout the season will provide you with more frequent breaks, more to look forward to, and are generally more affordable and less taxing to plan. Safe to say, shorter weekend getaways can positively affect your overall mental health this travel season.
So, as you head into the summer, do your best to adopt the “less is more” mindset to keep stress at bay during one of the busiest times of the year.
For more tips on living a healthy stress free life check out my book Be Fearless: Change Your Life in 28 Days.