Preparing for Summer Break: Tips to Recharge Your Mind
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is the result of those months of less sunlight where people may experience feelings of depression, stress, and anxiety. Given that many individuals in countries around the world have spent the majority of their time indoors due to the COVID-19 lockdowns, most individuals may have experienced feelings associated with SAD. Now, with summer just around the corner and some COVID-19 restrictions starting to lift for some countries, there are many strategies and techniques that can be used to recharge the mind and body to perform optimally and enjoy the very best of the warm weather. Here are five practical tips to help you enjoy the summer months by recharging your mind, lifting your spirits, and bringing more balance and vitality into your life.
Block off time to enjoy summer activities.
Scheduling time on a regular basis for leisure activities can often be difficult due to personal and professional obligations. Constantly being attached to phones and laptops, checking emails after work hours, and scrolling through social media can drain your energy and bring down your overall mood. The onset of summer means more time for recreational activities, but only if you make it your goal to unplug from your computer and schedule time to enjoy fun activities. Start by setting some boundaries around when to answer emails or check work messages. This will not only allow you to enjoy the summer break, but also make you feel immersed in the present moment. Ensure that you schedule time away from your computer and focus your attention and energy into yourself and loved ones.
Make a list of your favorite hobbies.
If work has kept you away from enjoying some of your favorite hobbies, make a conscious effort to go back to doing what you love in your spare time. Perhaps there are activities you've always wanted to try, but never had the time or availability to start them. Try thinking about a hobby or activity that excites you and one you can enjoy either alone or with your loved ones. The warm weather is a great time to enjoy fishing, hiking your favorite trails, spending some time at the beach, or trying something new altogether. Support small businesses by ordering food from a new restaurant, or check out your local botanical garden with your family to learn about the many types of plants that grow in your area. A planned or spontaneous adventure into the outdoors visiting unfamiliar territory can be a rejuvenating experience and just what is needed to displace those feelings of boredom and dissatisfaction.
Reconnect with loved ones.
Humans are social beings by nature and need to spend time socializing with friends and family. Making plans to reconnect with loved ones is necessary for balance and to feel like you belong to a community. Create a schedule of upcoming summer holidays, birthdays, and events, and plan a get-together for your close circle of friends and relatives. There is nothing like connecting with others over good food and drinks. Get your grill and firepit ready for the summer, and host a classic backyard barbecue to check in on your loved ones. Socializing is great for mental health and combatting feelings of depression related to prolonged periods of isolation. When getting together with friends, always remember to be mindful of COVID-19 lockdowns and social distancing measures in your local area.
Stick to a consistent exercise regime.
Exercise has been proven to increase energy levels and has a positive effect on mental health. Due to the pandemic lockdowns, sticking to a consistent workout routine has been challenging. However, the great outdoors and the warm weather makes it easier to incorporate regular exercise in your daily routine. Regular exercise can not only improve your mood, physical performance, and wellbeing, but the hot summer days can be a great opportunity to kickstart your metabolism and get back into shape. Going for a walk around your neighborhood or local park is a simple exercise and immensely effective in energizing your mind and body. To avoid dehydration during hot weather, it's important to get an adequate amount of water into your body daily; this helps replenish lost electrolytes from sweating and keeps your body's temperature regulated. Start thinking about your workout plan in advance, and try your best to stay motivated and disciplined to complete your workout on a regular basis.
Spend more time in nature.
Lao Tzu, an ancient philosopher and writer once said, "Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished." Summer is a wonderful time to spend outside in the backyard or nearby park; you can take sight of all that nature has to offer while getting fresh air and some sun. Perhaps you may want to replant your garden and create your own nature sanctuary in your backyard. Being surrounded by nature and natural sunlight can improve mental health, relieve stress, and help with any SAD symptoms you may be experiencing.
Recharging the mind is important to not only perform optimally at your job, but also to be in the present moment with friends and family. Finding that balance between work and life is a fine line, but it can be achieved by first taking care of your own mental health. The summer months are a perfect time to regain that balance and prioritize what is important to you while making a conscious effort to enjoy what brings you joy. Find a channel to document or self-reflect on your days, and add in your goals and plans to stay inspired and motivated. Strive to enjoy the summer months and take charge of your own health and wellbeing.
Kheder, D. (2021, May). Preparing for summer break: Tips to recharge your mind (B. Schuette, Ed.). Raleigh, NC: Workplace Options.