Just like that, the summer holidays began. After a long eighteen months, the relief of the holidays and the increased accessibility to favourite activities is much appreciated. However, how can we ensure that we invest in our mental health over the break, so that the return to school is a positive one?
Here’s our top 10 tips:
1. Plan some down time
Our brains work 24/7, and in order to process events, they need some time where they can breathe. Therefore, taking some time to rest, relax and recuperate is really important in terms of allowing us to take stock. Staying busy can be great fun, but often it delays the processing and can mean that things catch up with us later. Taking 1-2 days a week for quiet activities, albeit it art, gardening, walks, reading or construction toys etc can allow us some vital downtime.
2. Get outside
Our brains need endorphins, dopamine and serotonin to feel good. Planning in regular time outside, to allow us to unwind and release those vital neurotransmitters is important to both our mental well-being and our physical health. It also improves our focus, concentration and reduces inflammation in the body.
3. Keep a routine
Whilst it can be easy to stay in our pyjamas until lunch time, keeping a routine is really important to our mental health. Maintaining a structure to our days, meal times and activities allows our brains to feel secure and refreshed. It also benefits our stress and anxiety levels, improves our sleep routines and leaves us feeling safer and more secure.
4. Clear out clutter
With the summer holidays stretched out in front of us, it is a perfect opportunity to clear some of the low level stress that builds up. Physically clearing clutter, getting bedrooms in order, putting old school books away and getting everything straight has huge benefits to our emotional well-being and that sense of satisfaction that we got everything clear.
5. Reduce the stress
When we feel stressed it can spill into all areas of our life. Developing a habit of clearing out worries is a positive way of taking control of our well-being and feeling motivated. Using resources such as mindfulness apps, or hypnotherapy based audios (see the shop) or for younger children therapeutic stores (search our collection) allows us to release some of the overwhelm in our subconscious minds.
6. Get it out
When we feel overwhelmed we can become prone to holding everything in. This can mean that our thoughts and feelings feel jumbled and confused. Taking time to utilise resources and activities to support children and young people to make sense of their worries is a perfect way to help them develop emotional literacy. You can look at our previous articles (see here) or our anxiety workbook (find it here) as starting points. For younger children you may want to use story books or resources to help them (try these).
7. Access therapy to work through worries
If worries, anxiety, stress or low mood have become a frequent issue, then the summer holidays can be a perfect time to access some therapeutic intervention and release some of the overwhelm. There are many therapies available to support young people, including BWRT, CBT, counselling, IEMT, EMDR and play therapy (to name only a few) which can be hugely beneficial to calm down minds and improve well-being.
8. Eat well
Our brains are reliant on us providing it with the correct nutrients. When we eat well, we feel better. So, taking the time to try new recipes, cook new foods, or even get out to pick your own farms and collect some wonderful, rainbow coloured ingredients to use at home are perfect ways to improve our well-being.
9. Connect with people
When we spend time with friends and family, it makes us feel better. Connections release oxytocin and dopamine which improves our mood and well-being. Whilst talking on the phone is great, spending time with people in person raises our mental health. Think of that saying ‘when you spend time with people who are good for you, you feel it in your soul’
10. Get organised
When things are organised it makes us feel safer and more in control. Taking some time to make a plan for the summer holidays, or getting things prepped for September can ease worries and anxiety. Knowing what is coming next allows us to prepare and feel more confident. It also teaches us problem solving skills and allows us to find solutions before situations happen.
For more articles about mental health visit – ARTICLES
To learn more about child and adolescent mental health visit – COURSES
For resources to support child and adolescent mental health visit –RESOURCES
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