Summer Habits To Boost Your Mental Health
It's hot out there. Let's cool our minds off.
Happy post 4th of July.
Summer, per usual, is flying by. And just because we’re having fun in the sun doesn’t mean we get to throw our wellness habits to the wayside. In fact, we should ramp them up.
If you’re an over-thinker like me, the calming techniques I’m about to explain will serve you well. As the seasons shift, sometimes all we need is a new routine to get us out of a funk — and that can be as simple as changing the time you workout or shower every day.
Like Kenny Chesney says, it really is the simple things in life.
After listening to an embarrassing amount of wellness podcasts, I have compiled the following to be both easy and effective, all of which are proven to lower stress, decrease symptoms of depression and anxiety, and increase feelings of happiness and overall wellbeing.
Hug a tree.
Feeling particularly anxious about something? When taking deep breaths isn’t enough to calm you down, go outside and hug a tree. Doing so increases levels of oxytocin (the love and emotional bonding hormone), as well as serotonin and dopamine, the hormones responsible for making us feel happy.
As granola as this is, don’t knock it till you try it.
Ground your feet in dirt.
To wellness aficionados, this is referred to as “Grounding” or “Earthing,” and essentially means, put your bare feet in the dirt (or sand or grass). But the technical definition states:
“Earthing allows people to directly connect their bodies with the Earth and use its natural electric charges to stabilize them.”
According to VeryWell Mind, Earthing positively impacts the mind, with research stating the results are “reduced pain, stress, and inflammation and an improvement of overall mental wellbeing.”
Sift your hands through dirt.
Lots of dirt recos.
Similar to grounding your feet in the dirt, sifting your hands through dirt can be an oddly mesmerizing way to recenter when you’re feeling off.
The afternoon slump is a great time to give this dirt sifting a go, as the 1-3 pm slot has been linked to significant drops in productivity. This is why Europeans take 2-hour lunches and Latinas take afternoon siestas — they are SMARTER than us Americans.
Make the park your new gym.
Doing any workout outside — running, jump roping, renditions of squats, sit-ups, and lunges — is guaranteed to improve your mood (along with your bod).
Because the summer months are fleeting, take advantage of a fun (and hello, free) workout by shlepping your weights and yoga mat to the park. Walk the trails, do some jumping jacks, and utilize the public benches as stakes for your strength training sessions.
Up the ante (by ante I mean mental health spirits) by bringing your partner or friend along so you can hit the wellness trifecta of being outside + physical movement + social benefits.
Dress as the woman you see yourself as in 5 years.
You know how we say things like, “I’m not going anywhere, I don’t need to get dressed.” Or, “I’m just going to the grocery store, I’m staying in my pajamas.”
If you’re currently in this frame of mind, I lovingly encourage you to STOP IT.
May I remind you of the mental nightmare that was (is still?) the Covid-19 pandemic, where we lived in sweatpants for far, far too long, which contributed to unwanted weight gain, terrible self-esteem, and all-around feelings of sadness, loneliness, depression, and anxiety.
It sounds dramatic, but your mental health depends on getting dressed. It depends on a whole slew of factors, but getting dressed is one of the easiest healthy habits to get into when you’re looking to get your mind right.
Thank you for reading! Have a good rest of your week, and I will see you Sunday.
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