Recovering from mental and behavioral health disorders is a multifaceted process that usually involves a combination of therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes. As summer hits its stride, it presents a golden opportunity to incorporate outdoor activities into your recovery process. Picnics, hikes, and vacations aren’t only fun ways to spend time with loved ones – they can also play a significant role in improving your overall well-being.
The Power of Longer Days
Does your outlook naturally get rosier in spring and summer? It’s not your imagination playing tricks on you – warm weather and more sunshine can genuinely uplift your mood. This phenomenon relates to seasonal changes and their impact on our mental health. For example, seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression many people struggle with during the short, dark, cold days of fall and winter.
If you tend to get depressed and unmotivated in fall and winter, summer’s longer and brighter days will naturally ease your SAD symptoms. More exposure to sunlight boosts serotonin production – a brain chemical that helps regulate mood. Meanwhile, it also suppresses melatonin, a hormone that makes you feel sleepy. These changes can boost your mood, increase your energy levels, and ensure more restful sleep – essential components for a robust recovery process.
Explore the Great Outdoors in Seattle This Summer
Seattle’s diverse natural landscapes and vibrant city life offer a plethora of opportunities for outdoor activities. Here are eight ideas you can use to take advantage of these long, golden days and promote your behavioral health recovery.
- Walking in Discovery Park: With miles of trails and stunning views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains, Discovery Park provides a tranquil setting for walking, reflection, and meditation.
- Kayaking on Lake Union: Paddling a kayak gives you a feeling of control – an essential part of regaining self-efficacy during recovery. It’s also a challenging workout!
- Gardening in the P-Patch Community Gardens: Gardening is a therapeutic activity that lets you connect with nature. Seattle’s P-Patch Community Gardens program offers opportunities to nurture plants, which can foster mindfulness and patience.
- Cycling the Burke-Gilman Trail: This 20-mile trail provides a calm, car-free zone for cycling, which can boost your mood and reduce anxiety.
- Joining outdoor yoga classes: Yoga promotes mindfulness, reduces stress, and improves mental clarity. Look for outdoor yoga classes in parks around Seattle during the summer.
- Exploring the Seattle Art Museum Olympic Sculpture Park: Art has a unique power to heal and inspire. This nine-acre outdoor sculpture park is a serene place to enjoy artistic creativity.
- Visiting the Woodland Park Zoo: Interacting with and observing animals can reduce stress and anxiety.
- Fishing in Elliott Bay: Fishing promotes patience and relaxation. Even if you don’t catch anything, the bay’s serene waters create a calming experience.
Speak to a Recovery Expert Today
The journey to recovery is highly personal. It’s all about finding what strategies resonate with you, make you feel good, and support your health and wellness goals.
At Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers, we provide expert outpatient mental health services and solution-focused treatment for mental health disorders like depression and anxiety. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you need help or advice. Enjoy the healing power of summer and the great outdoors!