Most people typically associate summertime with good mental health. The sun is out, people are taking vacations, the days are longer, etc. Many people who experience seasonal affective disorder find that their symptoms improve in the summer, but others are actually the opposite. The truth is, there are a lot of things that can negatively affect our mental health in the summer. Extreme heat, feeling self-conscious, changes to routine (especially as parents), or the dreaded Fear Of Missing Out can all take their toll.
An acclaimed Physician Leader and Educator, Julio Licinio’s expertise in the study of psychiatry has been cultivated through decades of research and training. Today he shares his top 6 tips for taking care of your mental health in the summer:
- Practice good sun and heat protection. When you go outside, wear a hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses. Stay in shady areas to limit the amount of sun exposure you get, and don’t forget to drink plenty of water. Avoid being outside in the middle of the day if it is really hot.
- Go outside for 20 minutes each day to activate vitamin D production.
- Try to wake up and go to bed a the same time every day.
- Do not isolate yourself from friends and family. It can be hard to socialize if you are feeling down, but interacting with your community is a part of self-care.
- Take this time to rest and recharge when you can. Find activities that you enjoy doing, either inside or outside.
- Get about 30 minutes of exercise per day and try to eat a balanced diet.