Taking care of your mental health during hot weather

When temperatures soar, so do our levels of anger, stress and anxiety. This can sometimes be because of your heart rate and blood pressure rising as your body tries to cool itself down. Combine that with the anxiousness that results from dehydration, and you can quickly become extremely stressed during a heatwave without even knowing why.

During the current hot temperatures, try and pay attention to your body's natural cues - Keep a lookout for symptoms such as restlessness, irritability, intrusive thoughts and worries, fatigue, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, and nausea.

There are a few ways of fighting back - Avoid the heat and try to stay out of the sun between 11am and 3pm. If you have to go out, make sure to walk in the shade, apply sunscreen and wear cool, loose clothing. Make sure to keep hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day and avoid excess alcohol. Cold green tea can be effective as a refreshing de-stresser in the heat, and may also help reduce anxiety. Likewise, a sneaky bit of dark chocolate could help calm you down when you’re too hot.

Try to practice Self-Compassion. This means resting when you need rest and pushing yourself when you need to be pushed. Self-compassion means actually caring for yourself and trying to meet your unique set of needs. So if it's a super nice day and you really need to rest- rest! Summer plans and schedules can get overwhelming. Try to hang out with a variety of people, for the right amount of social time for you.

Heatwaves can be especially anxiety-producing for those who have experienced panic attacks in the past, so check in with friends and family's wellbeing as well as your own. The felt physiological symptoms are very intense during a panic attack, so a lot of people with this history can experience higher levels of anxiety during the summer months when the same physiological symptoms (sweating, palpitations, shaking, shortness of breath, feeling faint) are triggered.

Finally, don't be afraid to get more support. Summer can be tough for many reasons so reach out to supportive people in your life (or we're here too)

More information about how to cope in the heat can be found via the NHS website here

South East and Central Essex Mind, 112a Southchurch Road

Southend-on-Sea, Essex, SS1 2LX

Charity registration number 1148451