29 Little Ways You Can Change Your Life This Summer


1. Open
your windows.

Open your windows.

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Even if your summer is a bit of shitshow weather-wise, open
those windows and let the fresh air in. Ashley on Facebook
adds: “Opening my windows makes my apartment feel fresh and
relaxing.”

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2. Go for
walks.

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When your mental health isn’t at its best, doing an
invigorating physical activity may seem impossible.
Instead, go for a long walk. Taking it slow will help you
untangle some of your thoughts while you’re still keeping
your body active. Put together a walking playlist or
download a few podcasts to accompany you on your strolling.
I highly recommend The
Mental Illness Happy Hour
.

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3. Learn
to ask for help.

Learn to ask for help.

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Zachary Gibson

It takes guts to ask for help. Often it means admitting
you’re vulnerable, but this isn’t a bad thing. Asking for
help actually means you’re being proactive about your
situation. It’s important to confide in someone before your
problem escalates into a catastrophe. Don’t be afraid to
say: “I need this.” Learn to open up and share and be there
for others the way you hope they might be there for you.

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4. Don’t
forget to shower.

This may seem pretty obvious but when depression strikes I
often forget to take care of myself. The simple act of making
sure I get up and have a shower makes me feel like I can
start the day afresh.

Kelsey on Facebook adds: “If don’t shower I’ll be a couch
potato literally all day and then by 8pm feel absolutely
horrible about doing nothing. I’m not about to waste a
showered bod so at the very least I’ll be able to get out,
run some errands, read in the park/at the beach.”

Madonna, also on Facebook, agrees: “Body wash with mint oil
and a cool shower is SUPER helpful, especially if you’ve
been, like, misery-napping.”

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5. Make
your bed.

Make your bed.

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U.S. Navy Adm. William H. McRaven mentioned in a commencement
speech at the University of Texas: “If you make your
bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first
task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride,
and it will encourage you to do another task, and another,
and another. And by the end of the day that one task
completed will have turned into many tasks completed.” Dude
has a point.

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6. Don’t
use alcohol to manage your feelings.

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Alcohol has a numbing effect, which is what makes it so
tempting to drink away difficult emotions, frustrations,
and oppressive loneliness. However, those feelings do come
back, often much stronger than they were before. Feelings
demand to be dealt with; you can’t just put them aside.
It’s important to develop coping skills that are healthy
for you, that allow you to put things in perspective and
find the positive in a tough situation.

If you think your drinking is seriously out of hand, talk
to your GP immediately or visit the AA website. UK version here.

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7. Do
something physically challenging.

If you need a way to stay active without feeling like you’re
trapped in a gym, try learning something new. Whether it’s
aerial hoops or hot yoga or rollerblading in the park, you’ll
feel great for getting out there and doing something fun.
Bonus point if you find your activity a little bit scary. I’m
actually 100% rubbish at gymnastics and decided to give the
aerial hoop a go. I was terrified and could barely lift an
arm without looking at the ground and wanting to throw up.
However, just getting up there and swinging for a bit was
something I hadn’t been able to do before.

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8.
Organise your work space.

Organise your work space.

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Take a good look at your desk. Declutter, shred, and chuck
out anything you don’t need. If your desk accessories and
decorations are looking a bit worse for wear it’s time to
part ways with them. They’re not going make you feel any
more productive. Once you’ve done that, check out some of
these
office DIY hacks to give your space a personal touch.

Julie on Facebook agreed: “Reorganising and planning small
things that have little impact can take the stress off and
focus my brain on something productive.”

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9. Find
your safe space on the internet.

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The internet can be a great distraction but endlessly
scrolling through your News Feed might not be ideal if
you’re feeling down. Instead, find sites you love. I have a
collection of Tumblrs that I know will make me laugh out
loud. I check out the Long Reads Twitter
account if I want to read something I can get totally lost
in for a bit. And if I want to discover new music I’ll turn
to Hype Machine.

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10. Plan
one thing a day.

Plan one thing a day.

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Andrew Richard

Be kind to yourself, and move at your own pace. Erika on
Facebook shared: “I make it a rule to only plan ONE thing a
day. If I’m meeting a friend I’ll plan to meet her for ice
cream. If after that I feel like it, I might take a walk in
the park or follow her looking for dresses. I am also
allowing myself a rest day if I’m doing something that
stresses me out.”

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11. But
those plans don’t have to involve other people.

Don’t beat yourself up if your social drive is on the low.
Instead, treat yourself like you are your own date. Take
yourself out to a nice park, get a fancy cocktail, or go to a
play.

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12. Dive
in.

Dive in.

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Swimming is great for your mental health. Madonna
Kilpatrick on Facebook shared: “I really enjoy a leisurely
lake swim in the summer, especially if my anxiety has been
high or my day has been stressful. The controlled
breathing, the rhythmic motions, and the
warm/cool/warm/cool ebb and flow of the water.”

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13. Try
not to sleep too much.

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NBC

Getting into a routine is a good start to climbing out of a
funk but that routine probably shouldn’t include “sleep all
day.” Sleeping too much means you wake up feeling achy,
dehydrated, and a little bit fuzzy.

Claire on Facebook recommends quite the opposite: “Don’t
sleep in. Keep a normal sleep schedule and eat healthy.”

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14. Get
involved with a charity.

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Kirby on Facebook says: “Community service is great. It can
be hard to make yourself do it, but afterwards there’s the
reward of having helped someone in need. It makes me feel
more reconnected when I tend to get stuck inside myself.
PLUS someone else’s day gets better too.”

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15. Allow
yourself to actually feel your feelings, even the shitty
ones.

Allow yourself to actually feel your feelings, even the shitty ones.

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Sometimes when we’re feeling shitty we want nothing else
but to push those feelings away, store them up, and deal
with them later. However, feelings are needy little
creatures. The more you push them out, the harder they’ll
come rushing back.

Allow yourself to cry, scream, and laugh hysterically when
you need to. Release some energy when adrenaline and rage
are getting the best of you and talk to someone close to
you if you’re worried you can’t quiet your mind.

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16. Leave
the house to read.

Stacey on Facebook shared: “If I havent got anything to do on
a bright sunny day I take a good book and go read in the
park. I get a little exercise, a nice tan, and I get to feel
like I haven’t wasted the day moping.”

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17. Keep
learning new things.

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Learning new things is a great way to keep your brain
active through the summer. Learning involves setting
targets and hitting them, which will make you feel
satisfied and a little bit proud of yourself. Danielle
tells BuzzFeed: “I take summer school in July and try to
volunteer as much as possible in August.”

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18. Start
a wake-up routine.

Start a wake-up routine.

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Sara Pocock

Whether it’s getting up and stretching, making your bed, or
pouring fresh coffee into a mug, your morning routine sets
the tone for the whole day. If you get into the habit of
repeating this daily, the rest of your day might just
become a little bit more productive too.

Larissa adds:
“I really enjoy yoga and meditation for mental health. I
always do a sun salutation followed with 5-10 minutes of
meditation to start my day in the morning. It really helps
me get into the right mindset and wakes me up.”

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19. Say no
to things without making yourself feel bad.

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Samantha
suggests: “Learn to say no! Don’t feel obligated to commit to
going to something you won’t enjoy or hanging out with people
you don’t like. My free time is mine and if binge-watching
Netflix for 12 hours straight is what is going to make me
happiest then that is what I’m going to do, goddamnit.”

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20.
Silence that negative voice inside your head.

Silence that negative voice inside your head.

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Motion Picture Corporation of America

When your inner critic is showing no signs of stopping it’s
important to fight back. Drown out negative thoughts with
positive ones and alter your vocabulary so you’re not
constantly telling yourself all the things you
can’t/won’t/shouldn’t do.

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21. Get
creative.

Shru shared:
“I’m a pianist, so playing my piano (stuff like Tchaikovsky
or Glinka or even fun, simple pieces like by Richard
Clayderman) really boosts my mood.”

Elise
added: “I’ve been biking a lot. It’s good to get out of the
house, get some fresh air. I try to go to different places
every time I go biking, never take the same route or go the
same way. I usually find a spot or two along the way, sit
down, and draw for a while. I’m not allowed to start over, I
do it in pen so I can’t erase, and I can’t tear pages out of
the sketchbook I use. It really forces me to just draw, and
not worry about the finished product or anything.”

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22. Grow
something.

Grow something.

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Braelynk
recommends gardening: “It sounds lame or like something
only an elderly person would do but it’s so relaxing and
you can see the fruits of your labor making you feel so
much more successful. Bonus: If it’s vegetables, you get
healthy food to eat, which always makes you feel better.”

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23. Spend
less time on relationships that cause a lot of drama.

Spend less time on relationships that cause a lot of drama.

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CW

You can’t always cut people out of your life in one clean
swoop, but you can definitely spend LESS time with people
who make you worry and fret all the time. Is that guy
you’re sort of half-dating making you stress out more than
usual? Stop chasing him. Do you have a friend who likes to
drop snide comments that make you feel like shit? Stop
hanging out with them. Start with decreasing communication
with people who are toxic to you, spend less time with
them, and definitely don’t do them any favours.

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24. Seek
out support groups if you’re struggling.

Seek out support groups if you're struggling.

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Lauren
shared: “I found a support group for people suffering from
mental illness in my city. They have individualised peer
group meetings, BBQs, and other outings. I’ve made an
appointment to become a member and hope I can get involved
slowly over the summer.”

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25. Take
your meds on time.

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Cartoon Network

It’s easy to become a bit lazy with your meds. And if, like
me, your short-term memory tends to fail you you might be
familiar with the nightly routine of “DID I TAKE THEM?”
when you did about three minutes ago.

Or did you? No, you definitely did. Wait..?

Make sure your meds are visible to you so you see them and
remember, whether it’s in a pillbox or just on your
nightstand. It also helps to set an alarm on your phone.
Another handy tip is to make taking your meds part of a
ritual you do every day, whether it’s brushing your teeth
or having that one cup of coffee before you head off to
work.

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26. Keep a
to-do list.

Keep a to-do list, even if you’re not as busy in the
summer. Raven shared with
BuzzFeed: “I get overwhelmed when there are great big swaths
of time doing nothing ahead of me, so I will plan out the day
with a to-do list, even if it consists of things like
brushing my teeth, having a shower, opening the post. It just
helps me get a handle on things when it feels like I could
get swallowed up into a whole day of nothing. Crossing things
off a list is a big motivator for me.”

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27. Keep
track of the positives.

Keep track of the positives.

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When something good is happening to you, capture it – not
just because it’ll look great on Instagram but because you
want to remember it. Even if it’s something simple like a
pic of your neighbour’s cat’s cute little face or a theatre
ticket to a play that really blew your mind, keep them all
in a box or stick them on a memory board.

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28. Don’t
punish yourself for the bad days.

Don't punish yourself for the bad days.

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Somedays, despite all your good intentions, you’re going to
have a shit day. The important thing is to dust yourself
off, start again, and most importantly, take care of
yourself. Don’t dwell on the day you wasted in bed; just
make the most of the moment you’re in. Every new second is
a new chance to start afresh.

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29.
Celebrate your little victories.

Celebrate your little victories.

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A lot of people have a “grand plan” for the way we want our
lives to look, whether it’s a plan for the week, the
summer, or the next 10 years. However, it’s also important
to notice the little things – like, really little
things: I remembered to brush my hair today, I gave all my
old clothes to charity, or I finally unfollowed that douche
on Twitter. Whatever you’ve achieved, acknowledge it and
celebrate.

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