When we think of summer, the first thing that usually comes to mind is the beach, melting ice cream at a fair, and endless barbecues at a family house. While true, there’s more we should embrace in summer rather than just the warm weather. Besides having fun in the sun, your emotional well-being should get some lovin’ as well.

These are five effective ways to improve your mental health this summer:

1. Take up meditation

The best relationship you can have is the one with yourself, and a great place to start developing it is getting to know yourself through meditation. Meditation allows you to embrace self-reflection, which helps you develop more profound introspection skills and enhance your awareness of your thoughts and emotions. Initially, starting meditation will be difficult since your mind will have a tendency to be all over the place, but over time, you will come to be at peace with your thoughts and wholeheartedly embrace the present moment.

2. Create a self-care routine

When was the last time you honestly took care of yourself? Self-care isn’t all just treating yourself to a luxurious massage, soaking in a hot bath, or even buying yourself your favorite comfort food. What self-care really looks like is eating three meals a day, getting enough sleep, making an effort to groom yourself, staying consistent with personal hygiene, and investing time into the smallest actions that always make you feel your best every day.

3. Spend more time with loved ones

With everyone taking days off from work, family coming home to visit, or friends finally getting a break from class, there’s no reason why you can’t see your loved ones more! Seeing friends or family just for the sake of spending time together makes the day brighter: you get to catch up, reminisce on old memories, and laugh together. As we get older, it becomes more challenging to stay in contact with friends or family since we all have our own busy lives to worry about. Despite the fact, there can always be a moment set aside for the people who share this beautiful life with us and remind us why it’s so fulfilling to live in the first place.

4. Eat healthy and exercise

Don’t eat healthy and exercise for just a season or event, like summer or New Year’s - make it a lifestyle! Eating healthy and exercising aren’t just for sculpting a swimsuit body - they also boost mood, reduce stress, and help you cope with both emotional and physical pain. Some healthy foods include tryptophan, the amino acid that synthesizes serotonin, the “happy” hormone which regulates mood and gives you a better night’s sleep to boot! Exercise, on the other hand, produces dopamine and endorphins, the body’s natural pain-killing hormones which help diminish levels of cortisol and adrenaline in exchange for lowering your pain response and improving overall cognitive function. Don’t go down the route of eating more junk food this summer or drinking more alcohol! They do the complete opposite of healthy food. They make you feel worse, sluggish, and way too tired to have fun.

5. Go outside more

Last but not least, get more fresh air and sunshine! The great outdoors is full of Vitamin D, which is responsible for bone and cell growth, promoting a stronger immune system, and inducing relaxation. There’s no definite scientific reason why nature makes us happier or less stressed, but the theory is that we have a strong physiological response to it because it’s simply good for us! But make sure not to get too much sun and protect yourself with SPF sunscreen.

Author's Bio: 

Misty Jhones