Keeping cool in the heat: taking care of your mental health over summer

A YouGov survey carried out in 2021 showed that one third of people in the UK – 33 per cent – chose summer as their favourite season, compared to just seven per cent preferring winter[1]. So far this year, we’ve not been doing too badly weatherwise. However, with periods of extreme heat becoming the norm, it can have a big impact on our mental health. So how can we look after ourselves during hot weather?

Stay hydrated

Drinking plenty of fluids (especially water) is not only good for our physical health. It also supports the brain to work properly. When we’re thirsty, it can be difficult to concentrate on tasks and can make us feel irritable. Staying hydrated can help you stay more focused and alert.

Keep in touch with your emotions

We can all get a bit grumpy when we’re hot and bothered. However, for some people, extreme heat can heighten some of our emotions, particularly anger and hostility, making us more likely to respond to certain situations differently.

Recognising these emotions can help us take a step back and assess the situation before reacting. Make those around you aware of how you’re feeling and explore ways that might help to manage your emotions, such as keeping a journal or meditation.

Sleep

When it’s hot at night, sleeping can become really difficult. Not getting enough rest can make us feel irritable and trigger stress, anxiety and low mood. It might sound counter-intuitive but try keeping your bedroom blinds or curtains closed during the day to stop too much heat getting into your bedroom. Open them in the evening once things have cooled down a little. You could also try filling a hot water bottle with icy water – try whatever works best for you. Better, less disturbed sleep will make a big difference to your mental wellbeing.

We have a wide range of resources on our website to help with sleep, anxiety, stress and low mood.

[1] https://yougov.co.uk/topics/science/survey-results/daily/2021/09/20/c6ff0/3

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