Nearly 1 in 5 US adults live with some form of mental illness. And the numbers are rising.
Mental illness is a common issue among Americans, but it’s something we can work on by practicing self-care all year round. And during the months of summer, there are a variety of self-care methods we can take part in to boost our mood while enjoying the warm weather.
In today’s article, we’ll be sharing 5 summer self-care tips to boost your mood and mind, all while embracing the sun. Keep reading to learn more.
Get some sun
Many people struggle with what's known as seasonal depressive disorder (SAD). SAD relates to the change in seasons, many people experience symptoms in the fall and later in the winter months.
And most people affected by SAD live at latitudes far south and far north of the equator where there’s much less sunlight during the fall and winter months.
The reason for this could be that in the darker months of winter and fall people are exposed to less sunlight. The skin produces Vitamin D when it’s exposed to the sun, and Vitamin D can help increase serotonin activity.
And what does serotonin have to do with our mood?
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter (a chemical messenger) that carries messages between your brain and throughout the body. It has several roles, including influencing our memory, learning, and happiness.
Low levels of serotonin may cause depression.
Getting out in the sun may be a great way to not only get more Vitamin D, but it may also help increase the level of serotonin activity within us. Potentially improving our overall mood.
While getting sun is important, it’s vital to protect yourself from getting a sunburn or heat stroke.
It’s best to protect your skin with sunscreen and reapply every so often throughout the day. Reflective clothing is another great way to keep your skin safe in the sun.
Keeping cool is also important, as spending long amounts of time exposed to the sun could result in heat stroke. Try taking breaks from the sun in the shade and do your best to not over-exert yourself.
In many places, one of the great things that summer has to offer is the ability to exercise outdoors.
Physical activity can:
- Help improve brain health - regular exercise may help improve cognitive function and sleep, and it may reduce depression and anxiety risk and overall improve our quality of life.
- Help manage weight - physical activity can help burn calories, build muscle, and decrease total body fat. This could result in better self-esteem and overall a more positive mood.
- Help improve our ability to do day-to-day tasks - when we improve our overall health, day-to-day tasks become easier. This can lead to a better quality of life and can greatly improve mood and well-being.
When compared to indoor activity, outdoor activity seems to have a greater impact on improving mental health. Studies suggest spending time in natural environments may have a positive impact on well-being.
The combination of mental health benefits from spending time outdoors as well as exercise is something worth taking advantage of.
So instead of going for a run at the gym, take a jog around your neighborhood. Or, try getting involved with some outdoor sports.
In one review of research, there’s evidence that spending time outdoors with nature can increase happiness and positive social interactions. It may even help bring a sense of purpose and meaning to our lives.
Combining your favorite way of relaxing with spending time outdoors might be an effective way to maximize your self-care this summer.
Different forms of relaxation may have different effects, but relaxation can help us:
- Reduce stress
- Improve sleep quality
- Improve mood and focus
- Reduce anger and frustration
- Reduce muscle tension and chronic pain
So, what are some of the different ways we can relax outdoors?
It depends on what you like to do, but a few ideas might include:
- Breathing techniques
We encourage you to get outside and take some time to relax and unwind during the summer months!
Take some time off
The summer months are some of the best times to take a break from work.
Whether you decide to go on a vacation outside the country or enjoy the weather in your local area. It’s important to take time off to destress, and physically and mentally recharge.
Some benefits of taking a vacation from work might include:
- Lower stress
- Improved mental health
- Improvement in productivity
Overall, taking time off is important. And summer presents an opportunity for all of us to enjoy a break from work while embracing the warm weather.
As discussed earlier, spending time outdoors may help improve our well-being and happiness.
And exposure to sunlight could help increase the levels of serotonin in the body.
But how does exploring nature help?
Just as completing a workout can help us develop confidence, exploring nature may have the same effect.
You can try taking on a difficult hiking trail, or exploring a new area while paddling. Spending time outdoors and conquering a challenging task can increase your confidence and overall self-belief.
Closing thoughts - 5 Summer Self-Care Tips to Boost Your Mood
With such a variety of options, summertime may be one of the best times to practice self-care and boost your mood.
From getting your summer self-care essentials like sunscreen to relaxing outdoors by meditating or reading, there are many options when it comes to self-care in the summer.
And as more research comes to the forefront, we'll have a better understanding of how the sun and nature affect our moods.
Make sure to share this with a friend or family member who could use some self-care tips to boost their mood during the summer!