We’re closing out Mental Health Awareness Month, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop focusing on your mental health. You can continue to create a lifestyle that prioritizes emotional health and wellness.
For many people, the summer months include changes to daily schedules and routines. A lot of people take the summer off –
from school or work, but also from healthy routines and habits.
Summer includes vacations and family reunions and all of the other things you just don’t have time to fit in during the year. Repairs around the house. All of the things.
It’s also nice to just take a break! As kids, we look forward to summer as the reward for working hard all year.
I don’t know about you, but that little girl in me still wants to celebrate – just like it’s the end of another school year!
And then there’s just the chaos of life. It’s hard to take time for yourself when the kids are at home all day or you’re playing chauffeur to swim lessons, summer camp, and driving from here to there to here again.
So we tell ourselves that we’ll get back to the regularly scheduled programming in the fall.
But once you are out of the habit, it’s hard to jump back in again. Whether the practice you’ve neglected is journaling, exercising, reading, or even something as impactful as your weekly appointment with your therapist, there are ways to continue to make your mental health a priority even when your lifestyle changes.
Instead of neglecting your mental health habits entirely during the summer months, consider making small adjustments that allow you to stay on the right path. This way, it will be less of a shock to your system to jump back into your typical schedule at the end of summer. Think of it as a ‘modified’ habit – it’s still there, but you’re allowing it to take on a new shape during a busier time in your life.
Here are some examples:
You typically exercise at 5 AM every day. It’s summer and you want to sleep in! Instead of giving up this habit completely, consider choosing a time of day that fits in with your new schedule. Switch 5 AM with a midday workout or try an evening trip to the gym.
And maybe you don’t go to the gym – maybe you take advantage of the weather and find ways to exercise outdoors! It’s all up to you!
Currently, you spend 30 minutes each day journaling. You know this will be unrealistic with your summer schedule. However, this daily habit is a relaxing practice that keeps you centered. Instead of cutting it out of your schedule completely, try setting aside 5 minutes in the morning and 5 minutes at night.
Seeing your therapist is important to you. It’s important when things are difficult, but it’s also important when things are going well. It’s how you keep things going well. It’s when you can work on deeper stuff.
You could give up your appointments for a few months, but that might hurt you more in the long run than finding some sort of happy medium.
Maybe you meet every other week instead of every week. Maybe you meet every week for a shorter amount of time.
Get creative. Think outside the box. It doesn’t have to be exercise or no exercise. Therapy or no therapy. Find ways to fit things into your new schedule that work for you.
These are just a few examples to kickstart your modified habits. The sky’s the limit – because you matter! And your mental health matters, too!
You don’t have to do it all on your own. It’s so important to have a support system in place, especially when life is changing.
No one can get through everything alone. Part of being mentally healthy means accepting that we all need help. Another part of being mentally healthy is being willing to accept that help.
As you create a plan to modify your habits, think about your support network. Do you have one? Is it one you’ll really, truly reach out to when you need support?
Think of three people you’ll really, truly reach out to. Think of what you’ll say, now – while things are calm. That way, it’s ready and prepared when you actually need to ask for help. Our brains don’t think as clearly when we’re stressed. Having things simplified eliminates that need to think.
Remember that asking for help shows others that it’s ok to ask for help! And you making your mental health a priority will also set the example for others in your life.
Maybe the entire family takes 5 minutes at night to journal, or maybe everyone shares something they’re grateful for during dinner.
Support doesn’t only mean asking for help. Support can mean holding yourself accountable by sharing what you’re working on with someone close.
Just remember that you don’t have to do it all on your own!
I hope these tips remind you that you can adapt your mental health habits in whatever ways make sense for your life. Because it’s YOUR life! You have to live it YOUR WAY!
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