Summer Mental Health Bucket List

Britney Phifer — June 21, 2019 — 4 min read
The days are long and glorious. The nights are warm and breezy. Yes, it’s summer!

That’s the perfect time to tick some items off of your bucket list. Here’s a list to help you put your mental health first and do just that.

1. Make time for a new sport.

Now that the weather is warm, it’s a good time to take advantage of outdoor activities you weren’t able to join during the winter. Activities that get your body moving can help contribute to better mental well-being. Just make sure it’s something fun for you.

Activities to consider: Running, hiking, biking, playing tennis, swimming, or any activity that gets your heart pumping and puts a smile on your face.


2. Leave time for down time.

There’s a reason summer brings to mind images of sitting on the porch in a rocking chair with a glass of icy lemonade. Lounging on a beach chair in a floppy hat and reading a good book. Make sure you build in time to relax and recharge.

To vacation or staycation? If planning a vacation puts stress on your schedule and your budget, stick around, take a staycation, and do a little of absolutely nothing instead.


3. Take time to reflect.

Make sure you check in on your own mental wellness and reflect on what’s good for you. If you get your energy from being the center of attention at the neighborhood barbecue, go for it. But you also don’t have to say yes to every invitation if you’re not feeling it.

Something to think about: Ask yourself, what energizes me? Is it being in a lively group of people, spending time alone building model boats, or a little of both? Take time to know what makes you feel happy and do more of that.


4. Give the gift of your time.

Volunteering is a great way to help others, but it’s also a good way to promote your own mental well-being.

How to choose a place to volunteer: Find an organization that you believe in and see how you can put your skills and abilities to work for the good of your community. Even better if it gets you outside or doing something physical, like Habitat for Humanity.


5. Manage your boundaries.

Sometimes summer family get-togethers can bring you in touch with relationships that may be difficult to manage or family members who trigger past trauma. Sometimes, for people in recovery, vacations can bring them too close to old groups and behaviors. Remember that it’s okay to maintain your boundaries and protect your own mental wellness despite activities around you.

How to say no to an invitation that may put you at risk: Be direct if that’s your style. Be vague if you have to. Or simply make other plans and stick to them. The important thing: don’t put yourself in a position to negate your own progress.


6. Dig in to nature.

By planting a garden, you can do more than grow things – you can also play in the dirt, which is said to be a good mood booster. Plus, it can be very rewarding to take care of a garden and watch new things grow every few weeks.

What to plant: Growing flowers is a good way to bring vibrant colors and smells into your daily life. And if you plant a garden full of fresh fruits and veggies, you’ll even promote your own healthy eating habits.


7. Keep your loved ones in mind.

Remember, depression and anxiety don’t magically disappear when the temperature gets warmer. If a loved one suddenly withdraws from activities, or is experiencing a dramatic shift in sleeping habits, eating habits, or mood, reach out to help them.

Where to get help: We are always available. If you or someone you know is struggling with mental well-being concerns, you can reach out to our crisis line anytime day or night at 1-800-939-5911.


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