Taking Care of Mental Health Over the Summer

  • Summer is a time that students look forward to - spending time with their friends, staying up late, sleeping in late, and taking it easy. No school, no homework, no schedules. The summer, however, can be tough for some, with less or no structure, no routines, and the expectations of being social with friends or having a "carefree" attitude.

    Now more than ever, it's important to make mental health a priority. To support your child's mental health during the summer break, establish a summer routine for your family. While it may seem to go against conventional wisdom, maintaining a regular routine during summer is important for our mental health. Lack of structure and routine can actually increase feelings of fear, anxiety and sadness. Daily routines include maintaining a regular sleep/wake cycle, having regular meal times, and time for physical activities. Another way to support your child's mental health during the summer is to ensure opportunities to interact with others. Whether it's playdates for younger children, having a part-time job or volunteering for older students, participating in a sport, taking a class, having a friend over or spending time with cousins, be sure your child spends some in-person time with peers. Interacting with others supports our mental health. Social isolation does not.

    Here are a few resources that are available to our LVJUSD students and Livermore community to help you take care of your mental health over the summer:

    • To help your child develop skills to deal with anxiety and stress, check out our page on Mindfulness. For information on building resiliency, take a look at these tips from the National Association of School Psychologists - How Caregivers Can Foster Resiliency
    • Mental Health support is available during the summer break.
      • For assistance in locating a mental health provider, or for more information on our mental health partners, please visit our Local Mental Health Partners webpage. 
      • Axis Bridge Mental Health Urgent Care - Axis Bridge Mental Health Urgent Care Program provides same-day support and linkage to care for any student, family or adult in a mental health crisis.
    • NAMI Tri-Valley (National Alliance on Mental Illness) holds monthly support groups for parents who have children with a mental health disorder.  The dates are posted on LVJUSD’s Mental Health Community Calendar. For more information marsha@nami-trivalley.org
    • Visit our Suicide Prevention and Information webpage for resources and information.
    • If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, please call or text 988 for immediate support.
    • Suicide & Crisis Lifeline     Linea de prevention del suicidio y crisis

  •        Summer Mental Health Tips

    Here are 15 activities from Mental Health First Aid to include on your summer self-care checklist to help you take care of your mental health over the summer and beyond.

    1. Ditch the couch and relax outdoors. Grab a blanket or lawn chair and something to read and set up camp on a shady patch of grass.
    2. Go for a stroll. A long walk can be a great way to clear your head and enjoy a warm summer afternoon. You can also grab a friend and get your exercise while catching up.
    3. Explore your local farmer’s market. Take advantage of seasonal produce and local vendors. A trip to the farmer’s market can be a great opportunity to try new foods and incorporate healthier options into your diet.
    4. Start a garden or join a community garden. Gardening can be a nice way to meditate, enjoy the outdoors and get some sunshine. It can also serve as a bonding time with your family or a way to make new friends. And at the end of the day, you can enjoy the literal fruits (and vegetables) of your labor!
    5. Tidy one small space. Perhaps a drawer or the top of your desk – even having one space clean and free of clutter can help you feel calmer.
    6. Make a summer feel-good playlist. Bring on the summer tunes! Music can be an effortless way to improve your mood and motivate you to get moving. Bonus points for listening while exercising or cleaning.
    7. Have a picnic. Enjoying a meal outside can be an easy way to get some fresh air and sunshine and shake up your daily routine.
    8. Try a new exercise. Getting those endorphins flowing can help calm your mind and improve your mood. Think about doing something outdoors like hiking, tennis or swimming. Just don’t forget your sunscreen and bug spray!
    9. Look for things going on in your community. Search online or in the newspaper for events going on around town. Consider outdoor movies, yard sales, festivals, farmer’s markets, concerts or dance classes. Making fun plans can help you feel excited and give you something to look forward to.
    10. Start or continue a journal. Writing can be a great way to express how you feel and check-in with your emotions. Or, it can just be a place to doodle or draw. Make it whatever you need.
    11. Reconnect with someone. Call an old friend – or even a grandparent or parent.
    12. Do an at-home spa day. Taking a bubble bath, using a face mask or doing a DIY pedicure can all be affordable ways to help yourself feel cared for. A candle, essential oils and relaxing tunes can all add to the spa vibe.
    13. Go exploring. Pull up a map and find a new area of town that you haven’t been to yet.
    14. Practice mindfulness. Try meditation or make a list of 10 things you are thankful for.
    15. Do a needs assessment. How did your last week go? Is there anything you could do to make next week better? Maybe you need more sleep, more social time or to prepare some healthy meals before your next busy week. Take a moment to reflect and think about how you can make time for whatever you need to best care for yourself.
    16. Make time for loved ones through shared meals, game nights, movie nights, or simply picking up the phone for a catch-up call
    17. Prioritize sleep
    18. And most importantly, have fun and do something that brings you joy each day. Whether trying a new hobby, indulging in a favorite activity or simply taking time to relax and unwind, make sure to prioritize your happiness this summer.
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As you make your summer to-do list, prioritize self-care and well-being:

    • Embrace the great outdoors. Spending time outside has numerous benefits, such as reducing stress and anxiety, improving mood, and boosting creativity. Consider activities like walking, hiking, biking, gardening, or relaxing in a shady park.
    • Make time for loved ones. It's easy to get caught up in our daily routines and miss out on quality time with friends and family. This summer, prioritize reconnecting with your loved ones through shared meals, game nights, movie nights, or simply picking up the phone for a catch-up call.
    • Prioritize sleep. During busy times, our sleep habits can suffer. Make an effort to establish a consistent sleep schedule and give your body the rest it deserves.
    • Most importantly, have fun and do something that brings you joy each day. Whether trying a new hobby, indulging in a favorite activity or simply taking time to relax and unwind, make sure to prioritize your happiness this summer.

Positive Parenting Tips to Help Support a Healthy Lifestyle

  • Summer is a great time to focus on your loved one’s well-being by practicing positive parenting techniques that support a healthy lifestyle. Here are some tips from Partnership to End Addiction that help a loved one that is struggling.

    1. Communicate your expectations:
    Setting clear expectations of your child’s behavior, family rules and a shared understanding of consequences for violating those expectations and rules provides them with a sense of stability, consistency and security. This applies both in and outside of the home. If it is clear that your expectations are based in love and concern rather than just “because I said so,” your child will understand that you care about their health and safety. This will help them try to meet your expectations and respect your rules. 

    2. Monitor your child’s behaviors:
    Research consistently shows that knowing where your children are, what they are doing and who they are with can reduce the chance that they will use substances. Work with your child to set a daily routine; with school being out for the summer this is even more important.

    • Having a structured calendar will strengthen their time management skills, help them avoid boredom and isolation and give you an understanding of what they are doing each day.
    • Ensure you have plenty of quality time together. This provides an opportunity to ask questions, listen to what your children have to say and strengthen your connection.

    Keep an eye on your child’s (and your own) screen time and social media use. Too much screen and social media time is connected to poor mental and physical health, weaker family bonds, and fewer ties to school and community. It’s not unusual for your child to resist these expectations at times. Monitoring, done from a place of love and care, can help you recognize and address potential threats to their safety and well-being.  

    3. Encourage healthy risk-taking:
    It’s normal and natural for children to take risks. If you can help your children do so in safe and healthy ways, they will be less likely to engage in and develop dangerous habits. Help your children face challenges and go beyond their comfort zone. They’ll learn how to adapt to new and complex situations, manage setbacks and develop new coping skills. 

  • Livermore Library Summer Learning Program

    Participating in the Summer Learning Program at the Livermore Public Library is a great way to create a summer routine for all ages! Click HERE for more information!