Summertime can be tough on our mood and wellbeing, whether it’s the unpredictable weather, changes in routine, or feeling lonely. It’s important to take care of ourselves, even if the sun is shining.
In this blog, we’ll explore some helpful tips to help you stay well during the summer.
Tip 1: Keep to a daily routine – longer hours of sunlight can disturb your sleep and waking patterns. You might feel better if you stick to a routine, trying to get up and go to bed at your usual times. Keeping your room dark or using an eye mask could help – explore more ideas for sleeping well.
You might to decide to adapt your routine and make the most of the longer days (especially if it’s very hot), you could take inspiration from Mediterranean countries, and take a siesta – a break in the middle part of your day.
Tip 2: Stay connected – summertime is often holiday time and your regular contacts, friends and family might be away or unavailable. You can still stay in touch by email, text or social media, even if people are abroad.
Tip 3: Do things you enjoy – it’s important to take time to enjoy yourself each day, even in variable weather. Planning activities to look forward to can help – you can have a weather-related backup if needed!
Tip 4: Get outside for some sunlight and exercise – going outdoors for a least 20 minutes of exercise each day. Walking in a green space, such as one of Leeds’ many parks, can help you feel refreshed and energised.
On hotter days, trying to avoid the middle of the day can help you stay safe. If the weather’s nice, but you can’t go out, try opening the window for some fresh air.
Tip 5: Look after your physical health – there’s lots of information available to help everyone stay well in the summer months:
- Stay cool on hot days – you can find advice on how to cope in hot weather from the NHS
- Use sunscreen – the NHS has useful advice about sunscreen and sun safety and the British Association of Dermatologists has lots of sun awareness tips and a Sunscreen Factsheet
- Stay hydrated – drink 6 to 8 glasses of fluid each day and have regular cool drinks on hot days. The BBC Good Food website has ideas for refreshing non-alcoholic drinks.
- Eat well – try seasonal fruit and vegetables and look for affordable recipes from FoodWise Leeds.
- Keep active – it’s important to keep moving and we can often enjoy being outside in the summer (see Tip 4 above). If it’s too hot or too rainy, you can try exercising at home, such as walking the stairs or using an online exercise or yoga video.
- Manage allergies – you can find advice from the NHS on hay fever and allergies to insect stings.
- Stop smoking – find help to stop in Leeds.
Advice for money, debt or benefits – find details of services in Leeds offering support around finances on our Debt and money worries pages.
Tip 6: Make a plan – holidays might be different this year, with people worried about the cost of living problems. It’s OK to make plans your own way – try not to feel pressured into expensive breaks or days out. The Big Issue has 32 places where children can eat cheaply or for free.
Free or low cost activities available around Leeds:
Tip 7: Relax and unwind – the last few years have been difficult, with many people feeling anxious about their health or families, job security or money worries. Take some time each day to relax. Find what works for you, whether that’s relaxation breathing, caring for your plants, going for a run, or getting up and moving to your favourite feel-good tunes. The Mind website has eight tips for relaxation and our MindWell sensory comfort kit has ideas to inspire you too.
Tip 8: Drink sensibly – taking a mindful approach to what you’re drinking can benefit your physical and emotional health. Try Public Health England’s Drink Free Days app, or check out the Drink Coach website for tips to help you cut down. Explore the Forward Leeds website for more advice and support.
Tip 9: Write it down – keeping a journal can be a great way to explore and organise our thoughts. It can help you plan your day, express gratitude and understand your worries and feelings. Summer can be a great time to think about goals and preparing for the rest of the year, so why not get a notebook or find a journal app and get writing? The Mental Health Foundation has a nature journal (free to download) which could inspire you.
Tip 10: Ask for help – if you’re struggling, it’s OK to ask for help if you need to, there’s always someone to talk to: Find local and and national helplines and support. If you’re aged 18 or over and in Leeds or the rest of West Yorkshire, you can call the West Yorkshire 24 hour mental health helpline at any time on any day (including holidays) on 0800 183 0558. You can also call if you’re worried about a family member or someone you care for.
If you’re worried about a child or young person’s mental health, MindMate is the Leeds-based website for children and young people, their families and the professionals who support them. The website can help you explore emotional wellbeing and mental health issues and offer information about where support is available.Explore resources to help primary and secondary school age children practise self-care over the summer, from the Anna Freud website.
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