Improving your mental health in the heat

Amanda Aguilar Image
Friday, September 9, 2022
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The extreme heat we've been dealing with for several weeks can impact mental health.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The extreme heat we've been dealing with for several weeks can impact mental health.

A lot of people are stuck inside, getting less exercise or just feeling uncomfortable.

"It can cause our mental health to shift. We are not going to feel well and at our best," explained Chris Roup, acting executive director of NAMI Fresno. "We may feel longer periods of sadness and irritability."

Health officials recommend going outside before it's too hot.

According to a doctor with Kaiser Permanente in Fresno, sunlight has several benefits -- one of them being a mood-booster.

"Let natural light in the house when it's cooler," said Dr. Vivian Torio. "Pull back a couple of those window coverings, and then close them when it gets a little bit warmer."

If you aren't able to get outside when it's cool, Dr. Vivian Torio suggests switching up your scenery. Instead of staying in your bedroom watching TV -- consider walking around a store, or anywhere with air conditioning.

"We have cooling centers that allows you to socialize with others outside of your home," said Dr. Torio. "It would be great if your thing is going to the mall or going to get coffee or a snack."

The elderly are most at risk for heat-related health concerns.

Dr. Torio added that kids might find it difficult to focus in school during the scorching heat.

"The temperature itself can definitely affect their ability to process thoughts," she said.

Whether you're outside or inside, health officials stress the importance of drinking more water than usual. Proper hydration regulates the body's temperature and supports the brain's function and mood.