Millions of people worldwide have been enduring heat waves in the summer, struggling daily with scorching temperatures and suffocating humidity. No one can deny that extreme summer heat and increased humidity are quite physically uncomfortable. However, not many believe that such weather conditions can also have a negative impact on psychological well-being.
The hot summer days wear out your body physically, and when exposed to increased temperatures for extended periods, you could also experience lethargy, sleeplessness, dehydration, lack of appetite and symptoms associated with mental health issues. The American Psychological Society published a study that reveals that stress hormone levels are higher in the summer than during cold months.
Research has connected rising temperatures with multiple mental health problems like aggression, mental fatigue, and a higher rate of suicide. However, not only the surge in temperature factors for poor mental health, studies show that those living in hotter climates are more likely to develop these issues.
How does heat impact mental health?
According to the Mental Health First Aid curriculum, increased temperatures impact all dimensions of well-being (physical, emotional, social, intellectual, financial, occupational, and spiritual). Extreme temperatures impact everything from your daily mood to your emotions and physical comfort. Depending on how your body handles the surge in temperature, you can be more or less predisposed to deal with an acute mental health crisis during the summer.
Why do you feel so bad mentally and emotionally during the summer? The answer is simple when you’re not comfortable, you’re not at your best. Hotter days make you feel uncomfortable, and the energy your body uses to cool down your body lowers its resilience. Therefore, you’re more likely to be irritated, agitated, more prone to pain, and feel like daily stress is less bearable. Your body is used to an average stress level, but when it works more to regulate your temperature, it adds more strain on your systems, and therefore you’re more prone to experiencing inflammation and stress.
If you have a pre-existing mental health condition, you could be especially vulnerable to a surge in temperature because it adds more stress on your body, which could aggravate your symptoms.
Researchers state that heat impacts the brain in multiple ways because it causes an imbalance in brain signalling, sleep disruptions, and even brain inflammation.
How can you keep mental health issues at bay?
Protect your physical health
The best way to keep your body strong physically is to engage in exercise. Working out regularly is good for your physical and mental health because it triggers a spike in serotonin levels and improves your energy and mood. However, to rely on exercising to keep anxiety at bay, you must choose a form of training you feel comfortable practising. Only because your workout isn’t intense doesn’t mean it doesn’t count. You can walk on the treadmill, have a walk in the park with your dog, attend a fitness group class or do weight lifts.
Sleep is also crucial for improving your mental health, and unfortunately, the summer Heat Waves could prevent you from falling asleep or having a restful sleep. If you have trouble falling asleep due to uncomfortable levels of humidity or heat, consider using a natural supplement such as cannabis to regulate your sleep. You can use autoflowering cannabis seeds to grow your own plants if you want access them whenever you need them.
Keep an eye on your emotions
The summer heat can also impact your emotions, so you should pay more attention to self-care and developing coping mechanisms that protect your well-being. When you feel overwhelmed, you can improve your emotional health by expressing your feelings to your loved ones, taking a break from the activities that stress you out, walking in the park, using cannabis seeds to make a smoothie that alleviates your anxiety or meditating.
Mental health specialists also believe that journaling can help people deal better with their emotions because it allows them to express their feelings constructively. Engaging in a hobby that makes you feel good and helps you connect with like-minded people can also prove helpful.
Don’t neglect your social life
You might want to spend your days isolated in the house because you want to avoid getting out in the scorching Heat Waves, but you need to maintain your social connections to prevent mental health issues due to isolation. The summer provides plenty of opportunities to make meaningful connections, so don’t neglect your social life. If you don’t have a group of friends willing to go out during the summer, join a volunteering organisation, attend local events, or engage in a hobby like hiking or running that enables you to meet new people.
Maintain your intellectual well-being
Only because you get a break from studies during the summer doesn’t mean you should neglect your intellectual well-being. Take advantage of this period to improve your skills and knowledge and gain new aptitudes. You can choose from a wide array of stimulating activities that keep your brain busy and help you improve your knowledge. Set some goals so you can choose a direction.
Manage your finances
As long as you’re satisfied with your financial situation, you are less likely to deal with mental health issues. However, during summer, you are more tempted to splurge on concerts, going out, vacations, and other similar activities. Make a budget for entertaining activities and stick to it. It’s essential to determine the amount of money you’re comfortable spending so you don’t expose yourself to high-stress levels due to financial issues.
Your spiritual well-being is also important
It’s crucial to feel like you have a purpose. Spiritual well-being doesn’t mean adopting a religious system but finding your meaning in life. Engage in activities that make you feel contemptuous of your choices and do acts of selflessness because they lower your blood pressure, help you alleviate stress, and improve your self-esteem. Take time to be grateful for what you have, and when you find it challenging to manage anxiety, get in touch with someone who could help you.