Article written by Blog Post Contributor Maria C. Inoa, LCSW
It's summer in Florida, and it's HOT. I've lived here all my life, and still, the heat almost knocks me off my feet. Summertime, though it has it's perks, can also create sadness or perpetuate the sadness someone with depression is already trying to cope with. Maybe you long to take a European vacation, start a summer romance, or rent a beach house for some R&R but instead, find yourself living vicariously through friends on your social media feed. Let's talk about 5 ways to survive the heat and take care of your mental health this summer:
Keep a bottle of water or two with you at all times. There are so many great travel cups that keep your drinks cool as well. Being dehydrated is a quick way to zap your energy, make yourself feel crummy, and increase your irritability.
If you can't afford to vacation, plan something small. Take a stay-cation and explore your city or one nearby like a tourist. You could book a hotel room for a night or two at the beach. If those are attainable, pick a day here and there and plan something for you. Maybe it's a long walk on the beach. Maybe it's getting a massage. Maybe it's buying yourself something new at one of your favorite stores. Maybe it's taking that art class you've been putting off.
We breathe all day long, but in the summer heat, make sure you are taking good, cleansing breaths. Many of us tend to be shallow breathers whether we realize it or not. Take a few seconds and take a deep breath in through your nose, hold for 2-3 seconds, then release the air out your mouth slowly. Feels good doesn't it? Do that again a few times. Make sure you are breathing well especially when you're spending time out in the heat.
Many days it'll rain. Others it will be just too hot to even think about exercising outside. Don't just squash your exercise routine, but alter it to work for you in the summer heat. Join a low-cost gym or find a community pool and swim laps. If you are a walker or jogger, aim to go outside early in the morning or later in the evening. Just keep moving.
5. Stay connected
Though you and your friends may be busy working, traveling, or just taking care of daily responsibilities, stay connected through texts to check in and schedule time to hang out and have some fun.
This summer, remember to take care of you. Make sure your emotional and mental needs are being taken care of. Take it one day at a time. Remember that, though you may be experiencing feelings of sadness, you are so much more than your emotions. Embrace your self-worth.
Maria C. Inoa, LCSW
Full Potential Counseling