the user-led self-injury organisation.

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Making the most of summer

I’ve noticed these last few evenings that it’s getting darker earlier. That should come as no surprise, it happens every year after all, but it did make me a little sad. All too soon it will be dark by 4.30pm and those of us working 9 ’til 5 will barely see sunlight until the weekends! So, how do we make the most of the few weeks of summer we have left?

Often, when we think of ‘alternatives to self-injury‘ we tend to think of them as things we do at home and indoors. But this time of year especially it can even more helpful if we take ourselves out of the house – after all there’s a whole world of distractions out there and it is believed that sunlight helps regulate our serotonin and melatonin levels, thus improving our mood. A walk round the local park can clear our heads and improve self-esteem. For those of us who suffer from anxiety, getting out and about can help use up some of the excess adrenaline that is such a distressing side-effect.

It doesn’t all have to be about exercise; anything that gets us off the sofa and away from the television for an hour should have a positive effect our mood. It’s very tempting to spend the evenings inside, especially after a long day at work or school, but when we’re already struggling with negative emotions, staying cooped up indoors doesn’t often help much.

Of course, it’s very difficult when we are feeling low and upset to find the motivation to do very much at all, but we can all choose to make an effort for ourselves and try something new.

So, should we be making the most of the lighter evenings, even it’s just by moving some of our indoor activities outside? Many of us read, write, draw, paint or listen to music in the evenings, but we could go and do those things in the garden or park instead. We have some very talented members here at FirstSigns, as can be seen from all your artwork that’s been submitted – but we always need more so there’s some inspiration for you!

Or simply go outside and do nothing. There’s something very relaxing about summer evenings, just sitting under a tree, on a park bench or even on a step in the garden (I spend a lot of time on my step!) Listen to the sounds of summer, the birds and insects, and smell the flowers as they start to close their petals for the night. I know, it all sounds very idealistic, and in reality we’ll also be hearing car horns, police sirens and the neighbours arguing, but with a little imagination it’s easy to drift off to somewhere lovely for a while!

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