Summer time and the living is easy, or so the song goes. It rings so true. It does seem easier to be active, to get exercise, to play, to eat a nutritious diet with abundant fresh fruits and vegetables, to have less stress, to sleep well, and to enjoy time with family and friends.
I find myself thinking about how I talk about “Lifestyle Management” with my patients who have depression, anxiety or other mental health issues. I consider “Lifestyle Management” as the powerful “over the counter” tools we all have access to, and for which we do not need to have a prescription written or pay a co-pay, although I often will write down ideas on my “Dr. Green” notepad and hand it to them as a “prescription”.
- Good, regular, restful, sufficient sleep
- Healthy eating with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fewer processed foods, balance
- Regular exercise that gets you moving and keeps you moving
- Positive, loving relationships that support and nurture
- Commitment to and passion for something that matters beyond oneself
- Time to devote to the “Fun Factor”
- Appropriate, legal, alcohol use that does not negatively impact daily living
- Mindfulness and breathing
Balance between “Wise Mind and Emotional Mind”
The shift that comes with summer schedules gives us a bit more freedom and possibly fewer demands such as homework, etc. I invite you to capitalize on the summer time to sit back, enjoy, eat well and play well. Hopefully these habits will be set over the coming months and be retained as we move in to fall. As adults we serve as role models to our children who watch and will learn. Last night, sitting on my mother’s back porch in Virginia, I tried to count the fireflies and listen to the bullfrogs. It was beautiful and symphonic. I hope I remember it when I am back in Boston traffic.