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Summer Mental Health Reset for Students

Mental Health Reset for Students | Beaches Theapy Group

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

School is out and it could not come soon enough for students. Whether in high school or post-secondary institutions, all students breathe a massive sigh of relief this time of year. Many will transition to summer jobs, but even so, the warm weather and longer days provide an ideal environment for a mental health reset that prepares them to return to school in the fall. Over the summer, parents can help them gather their thoughts about the year and process their experiences. You can kickstart the process by recognizing their strengths over a conversation about how they coped with tough days. Learning to view challenges as opportunities rather than obstacles allows them to develop a growth mindset. Summer is a great time to nurture those thought patterns so your child returns to school in the fall, fully charged and prepared.

Physical Activity

One of the easiest ways to shed stress is physical activity. Walking, jogging, hiking, swimming, kayaking and other outdoor activities are easier in the summer. Being active outdoors, and getting in some sunshine and fresh air can rejuvenate everyone and boost mood. In addition, exercise gives the brain just the break it needs from screens, social media and online distractions. Even a short daily walk is a good start for a mental health reset.

Socializing

Socializing, and hanging out with friends and family brings grounding, connectedness and happiness. Summer is perfect for making new connections and building their self-esteem. High school, in particular, can be tough on teenagers socially. You can give them a leg up by looking for opportunities where they can find a new connection or two over the summer. This could be at a summer job, camp, or classes in your local community centre, library or gym.

Creativity

Creativity is a stress-buster. Without the burden of school assignments and exams, this may be the right time for your teen or young adult to start a new hobby, such as painting, writing or playing a musical instrument. In fact, setting a goal to accomplish something outside their comfort zone over the summer can give them a strong sense of achievement and do wonders for their self-esteem. Parents can encourage them to write a short daily journal, story or poem. Ensure they don’t burden themselves to make it perfect and press-ready. Remind them that the exercise can help them express themselves and is good for a mental health reset after a stressful school term.

Mindfulness

Your teen or young adult will benefit greatly from practicing relaxation and mindfulness. In its simplest form, they pause for a few minutes and pay attention to all five senses to develop calmness and focus. An easy way to introduce this is getting them to enjoy a snack mindfully without phones or TV. Alternatively, they can follow guided deep breathing and meditation videos on YouTube. For a complete mental health reset, help them set aside regular time for mindfulness, and gradually increase their time in that state. It strengthens their natural ‘calm down’ system, the parasympathetic nervous system, to build resilience against anxiety and stress. Making this a daily habit will build up their reserves for the bandwidth they require to manoeuvre through stressful days when they return to school.

Self Care

Many students find their diet and sleep habits knocked off balance during the exams, Summer is the perfect time to hit the reset button. Good sleep hygiene allows the body to repair itself, and a healthy diet replenishes the nutrients they need to carry them through the day. Both can make a big difference to their mental and physical health. Going to bed before midnight, keeping mobile devices out of the bedroom, and avoiding screens at least an hour before bedtime, will allow them to sleep better and reset their Circadian Rhythm.

Seeking Professional Help

For some individuals, climbing out of a hole can be difficult to achieve alone. If the school year drained your child’s reserves to a point where they struggle to get out of bed and have a hard time enjoying the summer, it’s time to seek professional help. A trained therapist can help them recognize unhelpful behaviour patterns that hold them back and arm them with strategies to overcome those patterns. Often, a few sessions can help your child learn skills they will be able to use for a lifetime. Contact us to learn how therapy sessions are a worthwhile investment toward happy and healthy relationships.

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