Sometimes, we neglect our mental health to the point where even summer break doesn’t improve it. Summer after summer, I think about how being out of school will make me feel better, but there’s always something new to stress about, making summer far less enjoyable. Summer should be for relaxing every once in a while and enjoying the heat and sun and participating in outdoor activities, but when you’re in a bad headspace, having fun seems so much less enjoyable. The way I describe it is like carrying a backpack full of bricks. It’s exhausting. Sure, you can go out and have fun, but it would be so much more fun without having to carry around that backpack full of bricks. So, if the school year ends and the stress doesn’t leave, what can you do?
Last summer was the first time I was able to cope with my own mental health and enjoy myself, and I have a few things that I believe helped me with that. Firstly, having a schedule and a routine to stick to is extremely beneficial. I’m a person who benefits from the structure of a schedule, something that the school year provides, so taking the time to create a schedule during the summer keeps me in a good headspace. Having a reliable routine helps keep you from feeling like you don’t have a purpose. Summer usually tends to be when I start slacking on exercise, something I’m sure many other people do. Luckily, summer is full of new activities to participate in such as water sports, running through the park, or volleyball at the beach. Keeping active has been proven a million times to improve your mental state, so by engaging a new fun activity, you can keep yourself from falling into a rut. One of the biggest ways I’ve found to make my summers better is to plan things to look forward to. By breaking up the summer into events that I am excited for, I’m able to provide even more structure and excitement to my life that I might not have time for during the academic year. During the summertime, there is usually an increase in concerts, festivals, and events, no matter what area you’re in. Along with this, friends usually have different schedules and (hopefully) more free time, so making plans with friends is always something to look forward to. Even when I’d rather stay inside and be miserable, planning ahead for an event ensured that I’d actually leave the house, and more often than not, I’d end up enjoying myself. Summer is a time to relax, but it should also be a time to do things that you enjoy, so taking advantage of your time and keeping some form of routine is the best way to make sure you don’t remain stressed and anxious through the summer, preventing you from feeling burnt out by the time school comes back in the fall.