As winter disappears, and summer starts to appear day by day, people, generally, start to feel happier and more positive. The sun and the heat give these people a sense of relaxation and vacation, despite still being in their hometown. This does not mean that there aren’t people who still have to battle mental health issues and disorders throughout summer, too.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) plays a large role in depression and other mental illnesses, which is why a lot of people begin to feel down during winter – the dark, the rain and the cold take its toll on the human mind, and it seems like a pathetic fallacy for humanity when the weather is not good.
People often think that SAD can only affect them during the winter and that because summer is the season of enjoyment and holidays and happiness, that there’s no way SAD can play a part in their mental health – but it can.
Of course, SAD is not the only thing that can affect mental health, but a large portion of the population will more than likely experience one of these symptoms of SAD throughout summer – the most important thing to remember, though, is not to panic. Just because you experience one of these symptoms, it does not mean you should diagnose yourself with Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Due to the nature of summer, the long days, the hot weather and the often over-indulging in alcohol, it is common to experience any of these symptoms – drinking can dull your appetite, the heat can make it difficult to sleep and so on, but your ultimate goal is to do the best you can for yourself. Mental health is not a necessity, but it helps, and much like your physical health, the only way to get stronger is to practice and train.
Tips for managing your mental health this summer:
- Do not work more than your mind can handle for the sake of a bit of extra money
- Say no. If you don’t want to do something over summer with friends, don’t be afraid to just tell them no. You don’t need a reason, and you don’t need to worry that you’re missing out on summer if you choose to stay home.
- Find ways to stay cool. A lot of anger and irritability is caused through discomfort throughout summer, being too hot and feeling “sticky” are things that wind me up, so I try my best to stay as cool as possible.
- Drink water! This helps with the last point – water regulates your body’s thermodynamics and helps keep you cool during summer. Also, a hydrated brain functions better and gives you a better chance at being more proactive and focused.
- SLEEP! I cannot state enough how important sleep actually is to the functionality of the human brain. It’s 2019 and people still think it’s okay to sleep for 5 hours a night and then stay up for 12 hours and repeat it. This is not sustainable and eventually your mind is going to switch off.
- Late evening walks. Walking when the sun has started to set and the light beams are shining through trees can give your body this weird sense of relaxation. The aesthetics of nature in the light of early evening summer is an image that we have all seen on TV or on an advert and thought, “Wow, that’s nice.” Try it and see how it makes you feel!
I realise that a lot of people will look at this list and think I am trying to play down the seriousness and severity of mental disorders, please know that I am not. This list is not my attempt at trying to cure any mental disorders people may have, these are just my tips to try and alleviate the symptoms and try and make your day even 1% better.
How To Manage Your Physical Health
Physical and mental health are closely entwined, so a lot of the tips above about your mental health will also help you feel physically better, such as sleep, drinking more water and going on walks. But what people don’t realise is that physical health is more than being aesthetically pleasing, you need to look after your body.
Gyms have a stigma attached to them, particularly for people like me who aren’t exactly unhealthy, but could definitely stand to lose a bit of weight for the benefit of my health. Gyms are often full of people who look amazing and are in amazing shape, and it’s disheartening to some people who walk in and think, “I don’t belong here, I don’t look like that. ”
Gyms aren’t about just looking good and lifting heavy weights, they’re also about your internal health and your cardiovascular health too. Being strong is far better than looking strong. A large part of looking after your physical health, also, is your diet.
Tips for managing your physical health this summer:
- Drink water! As I stated earlier, this can help with regulating your body’s temperature, and if the UK is going to have a summer like we did last year, drinking water is going to be essential.
- Go for walks. Try and avoid going for a walk between the hours of 8-5, that is when the sun is at its hottest and it’ll make the exercise even more strenuous and difficult. Try and wait until it starts to cool down in the evening, or if you feel like it, there’s nothing better than an early morning walk on a summer’s day!
- Try yoga. Yoga is one of the most popular exercises in the world, due to its ability to increase flexibility, strength and that it’s low impact means people can do it without really straining themselves. Plus, you can do it at home!
- Make good decisions. Decisions such as taking the stairs up one floor, or maybe having a glass of ice water instead of a beer can be key factors in the contribution of physical health.
- If you’re going for drinks with friends, switch to lower calorie versions of your drinks, or maybe have a glass of water or a soft drink between every alcoholic drink you have.
Ultimately, summer is a time to enjoy yourself and spend time with friends. Whatever you end up doing for summer, make sure you and your friends are looking after yourselves!