Mental Health in the Summer
Jun 11, 2020
Last month we talked about checking in with your own mental health and the mental health of your children. As we move into summer, we often see kids, teens, and their families take time away from counseling to enjoy the summertime. But, let’s be real. This summer is like no other summer past. You’ve been cooped up since March, trying to juggle life, work, distance learning, and all that is going on in the world. And the things we normally look forward to in the summer are now either restricted or cancelled. Can you say “bummer”?! This summer is the perfect time to focus on the mental health of you and your children/teens.
There is a lot of anxiety, worry, stress, feeling hopeless or down, disrupted sleep, and lack of social engagement. These are all symptoms of bigger mental health conditions if left untreated. Clinicians at FamilyMeans are equipped to handle these types of topics, along with many others, in order to help you and your loved ones feel better, even during this most unsettling time. This summer is especially a great time to help children and teens work through any anxieties they may have about the world or the thought of going back to school in the fall. Good mental health takes time and dedication, and in the summer your child might have more time to focus on their mental health. Summer is a perfect moment to begin good practices that will help in the school year ahead. They will be ready to jump in when it is time and conquer anything that life throws them. Please contact us today to set a telehealth appointment, FamilyMeans.org or 651-439-4840!
Bonus: Routine is key to good mental health, especially for developing minds. While at home this summer here are some tips for keeping a normal feeling routine:
- Have some structure to your day – kids need structure (which a school day usually provides). Keep it loose and flexible but predictable at the same time. If your kids are into artwork – have them help you create a fun artistic calendar for the family.
- Get a library card and use curbside service
- Try out the many trails we have here in Minnesota and Wisconsin
- Build a fort inside on a rainy day
- Find new virtual tourist attractions and learn about a new place together
- Be active – get at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day – have a dance party, go for walks, go to the park, play sports, learn a new sport, investigate nature, etc.
- Play! Do something fun for yourself, or with your kids – be goofy and run around together
- Get outside–each and every day–make it a family outing. Create a scavenger hunt to do while on a walk or watch for birds, plants, or bugs. Make it a game of whoever spots the most wins a prize or the pride of winning.
- Limit screen time to two hours or fewer – use these hours wisely. Help teach your kids how to spread out their allotted time throughout a day – if they are younger – create a fun and artistic schedule for them on when they want to use their screen time.
- Keep your therapy appointments. Telehealth calls are available until in-person appointments can resume.
- Let yourself or your kids have an ‘off’ day – we’re all human and have bad days once in a while – let them have one and work it out of their system. Help them create ways to improve their mood – what makes them happy? Excited? Create a ‘mood box’ of items around the house that helps them improve their mood so when they need ideas they can go to this box for inspiration.
- Break the rules! Okay, not all the time, but once in a while. Let your kids see that there is some flexibility within your rules on occasion.
- Keep all the rules that you set out for your kids for yourself too – model the behaviors you want them to do – it will be hard but you can do it!