Summer Mental Health Facts

Fact #1: Increased anxiety and panic during the summer months can be triggered by hot weather.

Physical symptoms of panic-attack such as sweating, heat sensations, chest pain or discomfort, dizziness, nausea, and feeling faint can be similar to what the body experiences when it becomes too hot/ in high humidity.

Tip:Cope with hot weather and high humidity by staying indoors as much as possible during heat advisories and staying hydrated. Anxiety and panic attacks are treatable. Please talk to a medical or mental health provider to learn how to manage symptoms.

Fact #2: Being outdoors has many health-benefits and is a great way to socialize as a way to reduce isolation and improve mental-health.

Soaking in some sun (and Vitamin D), while getting exercise and being social not only feels good but can lessen anxiety, improve focus, and aid in a good night’s sleep.

Tip: Try to spend at least a few minutes outside each day. A great healthy-summer goal is to get at least 150 minutes of aerobic physical activity each week. This averages 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.
Since avoiding friends or family can be a sign to mental health issues, try incorporating fun events into your week that involve friends, family, and physical activity.

Fact #3: While social-comparison can be beneficial to motivate positive change, it can also become detrimental to mental health.

Summertime can be especially hard with social comparison— seeing others who have the perfect beach body, an active social life, awesome adventures and vacations. Comparison to others can contribute to unhealthy patterns or disordered eating, negative self-evaluation, poor self-esteem and self-worth, and feelings of depression.

Tip: Try setting realistic standards and limit excessive messaging from social medial that contributes to self-comparison. Remember to be kind to yourself and your body.

Fact #4: Healthy eating impacts both physical and mental health.

Some of the benefits-of-healthy-eating include supporting muscles, strengthening bones, boosting immunity, keeping skin, teeth, and eyes health, aiding in digestion, and helping achieve and maintain a healthy weight. In addition, food impacts mood.

Tip: Take advantage to fresh seasonal produce such as your local farmer’s market. Foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids are good choices for mood such as salmon, flax and chia seeds, and soybeans. Those with depressed mood or ADHD may especially benefit. Avoid high calorie, sugary and fatty treats when stressed or depressed. Keep your favorite healthy snack foods accessible so that it is easier to reach for these instead.

Fact #5: Heat and alcohol can be a dangerous combination.

Not only is there the increased loss of fluid through perspiration but there is also additional fluid loss with increased urination when drinking. This combination can lead to dehydration or heat stroke. Additionally, many common summer activities such as boating often include alcohol. Did you know that up to 70% of water recreation deaths of teens and adults involve alcohol?

Tip: Stay hydrated. If you are drinking, limit alcohol use (especially on hot days) and include plenty of water. Do not drink and drive. And yes, this includes boats, golf carts, and other summer recreational vehicles.

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Written By: Charlotte Johnson, MA, LPCC

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