Healthy Lifestyle

Stretch your summer: mindful practices and mental health strategies

Four women sitting on the beach with their backs facing the camera, they're sitting in front of a lake and trees are out of focus in the distance.


Ever wish you could make those summer days last just a bit longer? We get it. There's something magical about summer, right? The sun, the fun, the freedom — it's a season like no other. But what if we told you that there's a way to stretch that summer feeling and keep it going? And, it's good for your mental health too!

Understanding the psychology of perception

Let's start with a bit of brain science — but don't worry, we'll keep it easy to follow. Your brain, this awesome machine in your head, is what helps you understand time. It's why five minutes can feel like forever when you're waiting in line but fly by when you're chatting with a friend.

Your mood and what you're doing can mess with how you see time. So, if you're having a blast, time speeds up. If you're bored, it crawls. We know, it's weird. But it's also cool because we can use this to help make your summer feel longer!

But before we jump into the 'how', let's chat about something that's super important for your brain and can help you feel great all summer long — mindfulness.

The impact of mindfulness on mental health

What is mindfulness? You might have heard the word before. It's not as fancy as it sounds. Mindfulness is about focusing on what's happening right now. It's listening to the birds, feeling the sun on your skin, enjoying that ice cream cone and definitely not worrying about that to-do list. When you're mindful, you're not stuck in the past or worrying about the future. You're right here, in the now.

And guess what? Being mindful can do wonders for your brain. It's like a workout for your mind. It can help you feel calmer, happier, and less stressed.

Practical mindfulness techniques for extending the summer

Now let's dive into how you can be more mindful and make your summer feel longer. Here are a few simple things to try:

  1. Slow down:
    Remember how time flies when you're having fun? Let's flip that. Take your time doing things. Enjoy your meals. Stroll, don't rush.
  2. Be present:
    Pay attention to what's around you. Try to take in all the little details. Smell the flowers, listen to the birds, watch the sunset and really focus on the colors.
  3. Breathe:
    Yeah, we know, you do this all the time. But really try taking a deep breath a couple of times a day. It's a great way to remind yourself to be in the moment.

Give these a try a couple of times a day and see how they work for you. Up next, let's see how this ties in with having a great end of summer and taking care of your mental health.

Linking mental health and the summer experience

You might be thinking, "Okay, but what does all this have to do with summer?" Good question! When you're mindful, you pay more attention to the good stuff around you. You notice the warmth of the sun, the smell of fresh-cut grass and the taste of that amazing summer barbeque. And when you notice and enjoy these things, they fill up more of your memory. This makes it feel like time is going a little slower. So, you're not only feeling good, but you're also making your summer seem longer!

Avoiding summer burnout

Now, we've got to chat about something that can sneak up on you during the summer — burnout. Yep, it's not just for work. Too much of anything, even good stuff, can wear you out. That includes packing your summer days with tons of activities. Sure, you're having fun, but your brain needs downtime too.

Taking care of yourself is just as important in the summer as any other time. Remember to relax and don't feel you have to do everything. It's okay to say no sometimes, to have a lazy day, to do nothing but enjoy a good book or take a long nap. That's not wasting time — it's recharging your batteries!

Strategies for maintaining mental health and avoiding burnout

Keeping that summer feeling doesn't mean you have to be on the go all the time. In fact, it's all about balance. We've got some tips to help you stay happy and healthy, and make your summer feel longer.

First off, make sure you're getting plenty of sleep. It's easy to stay up late when the days are long, but your brain needs rest. Next, eat good stuff. We're not saying skip the barbeque or ice cream, but don't forget your fruits and veggies. And water! Stay hydrated.

Remember those mindfulness practices? Keep doing them. They're not just good for stretching out your summer, they're good for you, period.

Last but not least, take time for You. Do things you enjoy, not because you feel you have to, but because you want to. After all, that's what summer's all about.

Connecting with nature to prolong the summer feeling

There's something special about being outside in the summer, isn't there? The feel of the grass under your feet, the sound of waves at the beach and the sight of trees full of green leaves — it's Summer. Nature is full of wonderful things that can help you feel calm and happy.

So, go for a walk in the park. Have a picnic. Watch the stars. Let the beauty around you fill your senses. It's another great way to be mindful, to take care of your mental health, and to stretch your summer.

Incorporating meditation into your summer days

Meditation, like mindfulness, is about focusing on the now. But while mindfulness can be done anytime, anywhere, meditation is more of a sit-down-and-close-your-eyes deal. It's a chance for you to quiet your mind and really focus.

Don't worry, it's not as hard as it sounds. You can start with just a few minutes a day. Sit somewhere comfy, set a 2 minute timer, close your eyes and then focus on your breath. When your mind wanders (and it will), just gently bring it back to your breath. That's it!

Like mindfulness, meditation is great for your mental health. It can help you feel calmer, more focused, and less stressed. Plus, it's a wonderful way to slow things down and make your summer last longer!

The bottom line: So there you have it. Want to stretch your summer? Remember to:

  • be mindful
  • take care of yourself
  • connect with nature
  • try a bit of meditation

All these things aren't just good for making summer last longer, they're good for you too. So why not give them a go? Remember, summer's not about how many things you do — it's about enjoying the things you do. So slow down, savor the moment, and make this end-of-summer the best one yet.