The Covid pandemic triggered a global surge in anxiety and depression. It’s not entirely shocking as people had to adapt to lost jobs, transitioning to remote work, lockdowns, and quarantines. Plus, far too many parents became teachers in addition to everything else. Finding the time and resources to focus on mental health was a big ask for many. While Covid is still creating challenges, things have improved enough now that adults can do a little work on themselves. Keep reading for things you can do this summer to bolster your mental health.
It’s not a new idea, but it’s always worth reiterating. Spend a little time outdoors each week. You don’t need to do some huge challenge like walking the Appalachian Trail. Simply interacting with nature has a host of mental health benefits, such as:
- Better concentration
- Lower stress
- Reduced Anxiety
- Improved mood
On top of that, getting outside gets you a bit of sun exposure. A little bit of sun will boost Vitamin D production in your body. Vitamin D deficiency can actually mimic the symptoms of depression.
Most people don’t relish the idea of exercise. It sounds like it will tire you out and, to some extent, that’s true. Yet, exercise can also leave you feeling energized and will boost your energy levels if you stick with it long-term. Again, this doesn’t mean signing up for a huge challenge like a half-marathon. Just a half an hour of light to moderate cardio a few times a week will help get you there. In addition to the energy boost, exercise also serves as an excellent way to help you de-stress from your responsibilities.
Set a Goal
One of the first things people abandoned when Covid rolled around were personal and professional goals. Frequently, the logistics of those goals proved too complicated. For some people, all of their attention went to simple survival in the face of lost jobs, lost income, or massive responsibility increases at home. While dropping those goals was understandable, pursuing and accomplishing personal or professional goals helps reinforce a person’s self-esteem and sense of efficacy. Those attributes help reinforce your mental and emotional resilience.
With things at least partially restored to an equilibrium, it’s the ideal time to set and work toward a goal. If you’re not feeling up to a big goal, set smaller goals like learning a new song on an instrument or writing a short story. Just pick something that gets your mental or emotional wheels in motion.
Herbs and Supplements
If you don’t think that you can consistently block out time for exercise or a personal goal, you can also look at herbs and supplements to help support your mental health. For example, Vitamin D and B Vitamins can help boost your mood and energy levels. St. John’s Wort acts a bit like a mind antidepressant. For many people, the biggest challenge right now is stress. If you’re in that particularly unpleasant boat, a trip to a Massachusetts dispensary might be the ticket. You can find tinctures, topicals, edibles, pre-rolls, and even vaporizers.
Don’t forget about those oft-touted Omega-3 fatty acids. While you can certainly get them from fish, particularly salmon and mackerel, not everyone likes preparing and eating fish. You can find Omega-3 supplements almost anywhere you can find a Wi-Fi connection. They’re great for the circulatory system and may even help stave off depression. Always talk with your doctor before adding supplements or herbs into your routine. Some of them can interfere with prescription medications.
Be a Little More Social
Believe it or not, socializing is a powerful tool in supporting your mental health. Simply interacting with other people can boost your sense of well-being and improve your mood. As an added bonus, socializing can have a positive effect on your memory and give your cognitive skills a bump.
Mental Health and You
While the demands of adulthood are many and often overwhelming, no one else can make you take steps that support your mental health. Make a point this summer of doing at least one or two things that give you a mental or emotional boost. If you’re overstressed and overscheduled, keep it simple with a walk three times a week. If you’ve got the mental bandwidth, set a goal for yourself.