Two women lounge on a beach

Keys to a Restorative Summer

Keys to a Restorative Summer

The semester is coming to a close, and many of us are feeling kind of, well, very burnt out. Final exams, papers, and project deadlines currently dictate our schedules and can certainly feel overwhelming. The good news is that we’ve almost made it to the finish line. In just a couple of weeks, summer will be upon us. With that being said, summer for many brings an equally or even more daunting schedule and workload. Many of us will be taking on summer jobs, internships, classes, research, volunteer work, and perhaps an increase in familial obligations and responsibilities. 

Despite its potential for another phase of burnout, summer is an extremely important and valuable opportunity to invest in yourself and your own well-being. With any change in routine comes an opportunity for growth and improvement in self-care, whatever your schedule may be. It can be difficult to know where to start, so here are a few ways to ensure a restorative summer is achieved. 

Spend time outdoors. 

Prioritize getting out in the sun and fresh air! Whether it be a quick morning walk around the block to jumpstart your day, a weekly hike with a close friend, or maybe even a trip to the beach, spending time outdoors in the sun is truly healing. Studies have uncovered a host of benefits to spending time outside, including boosting vitamin D, reducing stress, and even improving concentration and focus. Don’t let summer pass you by without soaking in some much-needed sun. 

Get enough sleep. 

It becomes second nature to stay up until all hours of the night studying and completing assignments during the semester. As a result, many of us adopt sleep schedules that are not conducive to our health or overall well-being. It can be hard to break the cycle and establish new routines, especially towards the end of a semester, so summer is the perfect time to finally prioritize your sleep. Getting enough sleep improves both health and mood and will allow you to thrive in all other aspects of your life this summer. 

Put your phone away. 

Most of us spend far too much of our days on our phones and laptop. There becomes an expectation that we are all supposed to be reachable and dialed in constantly, and as a result, we end up overly dialed in. This is something I personally struggle with a lot and will be focusing on improving this summer. Even if just for 10 minutes every day, power off all of your electronics and simply live in the moment. Try to avoid going on your phone before falling asleep at night and instead try reading a book. Reducing screen time can improve your productivity and likely create more time in your day for more of the rejuvenating activities discussed in this article.

Nourish your body. 

Summer is the perfect time to give your body the food and hydration it has been begging for since you started having to ration your meal swipes for the end of the semester. The coming of summer brings an influx of posts on social media about getting in shape and eating right in preparation for the warmer weather. In my opinion, these posts can be extremely detrimental and lead to restrictive habits in these summer months. I challenge you to instead nourish your body more than ever. Try new fun recipes with friends and family and enjoy that seasonal soft serve we’ve all been waiting for! It’s also especially important to stay hydrated as the weather heats up. 

Spend time with friends and loved ones. 

For many of us, summer is a time when we finally have the opportunity to see friends and loved ones we may not be able to see very often during the semester. Soak in these moments and prioritize spending this quality time with those who are special to you. There are so many fun activities to do over the summer and it makes it all the better to do them with people you love. These are the moments and memories that you will look back on most fondly. Also, if you happen to be finding yourself in a brand new city this summer with brand new people, perhaps as the result of a job or internship, take this opportunity to make new friends and loved ones! Step outside of your comfort zone and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there; you will never regret finding new, awesome people. 

Learn something new just for the fun of it. 

Learning can start to feel like somewhat of a burden once the semester becomes so busy that it leaves your brain no time to breathe. Reinvigorate your desire and love for learning this summer. Take up a new hobby. Learn to play a new instrument. Read a book about a topic you’ve never heard of before. Play a new sport. Take an art class. The world has so much to offer and I challenge you to go out and see it this summer. 

Give yourself some time to simply relax. 

My friends and I often talk about how we feel guilty when we do nothing during the semester. Laying in bed watching your favorite Netflix show feels wrong when assignments are piling up and there is always something you hypothetically should be doing. However, this inability to let yourself relax is the easiest way to get burnt out. Allow yourself this time to truly relax and just be this summer. Remove the feeling of guilt from these times and just enjoy laying on your couch with your favorite snack and movie on the TV. Your mind, body, and soul will all thank you for it. 

Make the most of this summer and come back next semester feeling better than ever!