A sunny day at the beach, early in the morning. The photo features a building with a breakwater stretching into the sparkling sea. Colourful deckchairs are set out ready on the sand, but no people are in sight.

Summer 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: Beat the heat

Whether you’re looking forward to some extra sunshine or you’d rather sit in the shade, staying safe in hot weather is important for your mental and physical wellbeing. Before hot weather arrives again, what can you do to protect yourself and others from the heat?

There’s lots of information available to help everyone stay well in the summer months:

Tip 2: Stay connected

Summer time 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.

Helplines are available all year round for people who need them. You could also explore local groups and events over the summer months too.

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!

What about reading a book outside in the sunshine or taking it indoors with a cool drink if it’s too hot. You might also have fun learning something new or getting creative.

Tip 4: Get outside for some sunlight and exercise

Going outdoors for at 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: 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.

Both sleeping and activities can feel more difficult if we’re worrying about money, debt or benefits. Find find details of services in Leeds offering support or advice 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 39 places where kids can eat free or for £1.

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 are experiencing something that makes you feel unsafe, distressed, or worried about your mental health, you can call the NHS 111 phoneline and select the mental health option. This is for all ages, including children and young people, and those with neurodevelopmental needs.

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.

Explore MindWell’s wellbeing section, for self-care ideas, ways to look after your physical health and lots more.

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