5 Summer Routines to Boost Your Mental Health and Wellness

Most people benefit from a structured life. And for the summer season, structuring your life with a daily routine can boost your mental health and wellness.

For some, the beauty of summer begins with mornings spent outside, afternoons lounging by the pool, and passing warm, twilight evenings with a book. But the beauty of summer doesn’t start and stop here. The true beauty begins with your resolution to start anew—to start a good, refreshing routine which fuels your daily motivation to jump out of bed.

But before you begin, you first need a firm resolution. Maybe for you, your “New Year, new me” resolution has already slipped to the wayside, allowing unhealthy routines to creep back into your life over winter and spring.

If this sounds like you, don’t worry: a new season is an opportunity to start again. Here are 5 routines for the summer which may help to boost your mental health and wellness.

Step 1: Form a strong sleep-wake routine

To enjoy a fresh start to your day, you must first understand your body. Inside of you, there is an internal clock constantly ticking during a 24-hour period, creating within you your unique, one-of-a-kind sleep-wake cycle. This cycle is a part of your circadian rhythm.

To put meaning to the word circadian, “circa diem” in the Latin means “around a day,” which illustrates how your circadian rhythm coordinates with your 24-hour clock. When you feel your body wind down, you are receiving messages from your internal clock, letting you know when your body needs rest. The opposite is true when you wake up from a good night of sleep and feel energized and ready to start your day.

Why do you need a routine sleep cycle?

Studies have shown that for some, a disrupted circadian rhythm affects more than just sleep. Some of these negative side-effects may include:

  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Disruption of blood sugar and cholesterol regulation

What can you do to start?

First, ask yourself whether you perform better as a morning bird or a night owl. With this answer in mind, allow your schedule to fall into the routine of that need. If you know your body responds better to early mornings rather than late nights, set your timer for 6 a.m. and see how your body responds to that wake-up time.

If you don’t have any work requirements, ditch the alarm clock for a week. Note when your body wakes naturally and base your daily sleep-wake routine on your experiment.

For example, my body starts to wind down around 10:30 p.m. This is something I have learned not to ignore. If I intend to get quality work done, I listen to the needs of my body by starting my day early and going to bed early. While this routine works for me, some of my friends could work or read their way well past midnight without reservation, but because of this, they are not early risers.

Once you figure out your perfect sleep-wake cycle, you can incorporate these natural cycles into your summer routine to help boost your physical and mental drive.

Step 2: Limit your routine screen time

We live in a tech-driven world. Recently I noticed my local grocery store erecting tiny screens at the check-out lines to entertain waiting customers. Screen after screen, day after day, our minds are constantly receiving visual messages.

Why is limiting screen time important?

Setting a strict screen time shouldn’t be an expectation only for children. As adults, we should limit our screen time in order to accomplish daily goals. Spending less time on your phone or in front of your television may help to boost your health.

Too much screen time may cause negative effects (both mentally and physically) on your body. The following symptoms are common:

  • Eye strain
  • Headaches
  • Poor cognitive performance
  • Poor sleep
  • Reduced physical activity

What can you do?

This summer, it’s up to you to take ownership of the hours you subject yourself to a screen. If your work revolves around a computer screen, that’s okay. But when you come home and scroll through Instagram or tap through Facebook for hours, you are allowing negative effects to take hold.

Try keeping your phone outside of the bedroom. It’s easy to sit in bed and scroll away, forgetting the time. If you typically set an alarm on your phone, consider purchasing an alarm clock to replace your phone.

Also, try setting a routine time during the day when you can use your phone for entertainment and social media. After that, limit screen use to correspondence and other necessary functions.

Step 3: Schedule a daily downtime routine

I’m sure you’ve heard the idiom, “Don’t just stand there, do something!”

A trusted friend (and former military chaplain) claimed that idiom was one of the worst ones he’s ever heard. So, he switched the word order. The alternative reads, “Don’t just do something, stand there.”

Sounds silly, doesn’t it?

But there is something so vital about allowing our bodies and minds to slow down. Think back to some of your best summer memories. My best memories don’t stem from hectic moments, but from rare, treasured times when I stood still.

Psalms 23:2 (KJV) reads, “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.” Think about that word, “maketh.” He makes us lie down. God—who created our bodies, who understands the complexities of our minds, who foresees our breaking points—knows that rest is vital.

In your summer routine, allow for some shameless, daily downtime. Allow your mind and body to rest, to breathe, to be still.

And don’t just do something, stand there.

Step 4: Make time for outdoor activities

Routinely, I spend about 10 minutes of my morning watering the plants. I water our vegetable garden and an odd assortment of flowers on our property (from yellow hibiscus to purple geraniums).

And throughout the day, I spend two hours outside every day. Being outdoors is the best and most natural way to get vitamin D, and it is a marvelous way to clear your mind.

Of course, take the normal precautions to wear sunscreen, a hat to shield your eyes, and longer garments to shield your skin if you plan to work outside for an extended period.

Ultimately, delighting in the outdoors is a great way to boost both your mental and physical health all at once (and spending time outside during the summer just seems like a given, doesn’t it?).

Step 5: Get all of your work done

Work is a form of self-care. At least, it can be unless we make it a monotonous chore. If you take working to the extreme, whether you are at home or in an office, you may deprive yourself of the rest you need. But if you can do your work for the day and scratch those satisfying lines through the items on your to-do list without overworking yourself, you may find your body and mind respond positively to your routine time of work.

There may also be a part of your work which you loathe. Maybe you live in dread of getting “the Thing” done for that day. If this is the case, make that noxious task the first one you complete. If you are anxious about this task, place it high on your priority list and get it done.

Having a set routine is a great way to partake in the beauty of summer and to treat your mind and body with care. So, why not try one for yourself?

About the Author

When she is not in Florida studying Professional Writing, Paige Romig lives on a quiet corner of Birdsboro, Pennsylvania. In 2023, her poem “What My Grandmother Learned” was published in the 50th volume of Time of Singing. Similar to the theme from her poem, Romig hopes to spend her life writing and editing works with themes which help to heal hurting hearts.


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