The Importance of Mental Health Check-Ins: Summer Edition - Humantold

The Importance of Mental Health Check-Ins: Summer Edition

Charlette Yan MHC-LP June 24, 2024

During the summer, we may go to therapy less, but it doesn’t mean we should pay less attention to our mental health.

Summer brings longer days, more outdoor time, and a shift from regular routines. This season can be both refreshing and challenging for our mental well-being. For parents and caregivers, summer often means additional responsibilities related to childcare and coordinating family activities. They may find themselves juggling camps and activities and struggling to keep up with their usual rhythms and work schedules. While vacations can be exciting, they can also be exhausting, and making travel plans can bring anxiety. One may also find it hard to catch up with their daily duties after the break. Longer daylight hours create a sense of extended days and more relaxed vibes, but it may also lead to an inconsistent schedule and fewer quiet moments for oneself. A busier social calendar, though enjoyable, can be overwhelming and lead to social fatigue. Many people also tend to pause therapy during summer for various reasons that may or may not relate to these changes. During times of transition, therapy sessions may be prioritized less, or individuals may be too busy to attend. However, it doesn’t mean we should pay less attention to our mental health. 

Regular mental health check-ins allow us to monitor how these changes are affecting our mood and mental state. Are we feeling liberated or lost? Are we able to keep priorities straight with so many things going on? Do work and socialization overshadow our personal time? Are we adapting well or struggling to find a new rhythm? Is our excitement mixed with tiredness? These reflections help us understand our mental capacity and emotional responses to change so that we can adjust accordingly. Incorporating regular self-assessment of our mental well being and integrating self care allow us to recharge and enhance your overall happiness. Let’s stay attuned to our emotional well-being and manage the unique challenges that summer brings. 

Mental Well-Being Checklist

Regularly checking in on our mental health well-being is essential as it helps detect issues early so that we can prevent burnout, manage life's changes, as well as take control of our wellness and life balance. Instead of waiting until things feel overwhelming, we can take proactive steps to assess ourselves. Here are some questions we can ask ourselves regularly:

  • How am I feeling emotionally?

    • Are you happy, stressed, frustrated, angry, or relaxed? Reflecting on these feelings can provide valuable insights into your emotional state.

  • How is my sleep?

    • Are you getting enough restful sleep, or do you feel tired during the day? Having difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or sleeping too much are common indicators of stress.

  • What is my energy level like?

    • Are you feeling energetic or drained? If you feel low energy, it's very likely that your body is telling you to take more care of yourself.

  • Am I eating well?

    • Are you enjoying balanced meals, or indulging in too many summer treats? Overeating or not eating enough might signal that you are undergoing something challenging.

  • How active am I?

    • Are you staying active, or have you been more sedentary lately? Regular exercise can boost your mood and energy levels.

  • How are my social interactions?

    • Are you enjoying time with loved ones, or feeling overwhelmed by social obligations? Finding a balance that works for you is essential for maintaining mental health.

  • What is my stress level?

    • Are certain situations or events making you nervous? Recognizing the source of stress can help you manage them more effectively.

  • Am I taking time for myself?

    • Make sure you're carving out time for self-care and relaxation!

Recommended activities and practices to support mental well-being

Taking care of our well-being goes beyond recognizing stressors and how they manifest. Engaging in self-care activities fosters emotional resilience and joy. Here are some practices and activities you can integrate into your summer routine. These can be enjoyed alone during your personal break time or shared with friends and loved ones to build connections.

  • Stay close to nature

    • Summer is a perfect season for travel and outdoor exploration. Whether it’s a weekend camping trip, a hike in the mountains, a day at the beach, or a walk by the river, prioritizing time in nature can reduce stress levels and improve overall well-being. You can also engage in more unconventional little activities like hugging a tree, jumping and rolling on the grass, observing the animals, collecting stones or shells. Don’t overlook the healing power of our natural surroundings!

  • Join community events

    • More community events are coming out during summertime when the weather is better. Events like music festivals in the neighborhood park and movie series on the lawn, rooftop, and riversides are great options for people to get connected to nature as well as the city, enjoying sunset and summer breeze.

  • Have a healthy and consistent sleep pattern

    • Longer daylight hours in summer can impact our sleep patterns, often leading to later bedtimes and disrupted sleep cycles. Setting a consistent sleep schedule helps manage this change. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, even if the sun is still up. Use blackout curtains or sleep masks to create a dark environment that encourages better sleep quality. While summer invites flexibility, maintaining a basic routine can provide a sense of stability.

  • Hydrate and Eat Well

    • One can easily get dehydrated in the summer heat. Summer gatherings may also involve overeating or unhealthy choices. Dehydration and insufficient nutrition can lead to physical symptoms like headache and low energy, which in turn can impact cognitive function and mental status. Practicing mindful eating can help maintain a healthy relationship with food and avoid overeating. It involves paying attention to the smell, taste and texture of the food, savoring each bite, and identifying the moment when you’re full. Incorporate hydrating foods like watermelon, cucumbers, and oranges into your diet can supplement the water and nutrition intake.

  • Plan for alone time

    • With the surge of social invitations and family obligations, it’s crucial to set boundaries to prevent burnout, especially for parents and caregivers who have increased responsibilities of looking after their children during summer break. It’s okay to decline invitations and plan for alone time if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Swapping duties with your partner and other trusted family members can provide you with breaks. You can set up a specific area at home just for you during a particular time. Keeping it consistent helps it become a routine, making it easier for those around you to respect your personal time. This time can be used for activities you love, like reading, watching shows, or simply taking a nap. Boundaries are not just about saying no to others but also about saying yes to yourself and your needs.

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