This summer has been a roller coaster of emotions. On the one hand, setting up our home for our soon-to-be foster kids and recovering from an emotional school year has been really challenging. On the other hand, I got to travel and rest which my soul, mind, and body were in desperate need of.
But toward the beginning of August, I started to panic that I wasn’t excited about the new school year yet, which almost never happens to me. Basically, I was fighting the Summer Blues just like so many of us fight the Sunday Blues at the end of a weekend before going back to work. I was and am still dealing with the list of all the things I need to do, and worrying about what next year will bring. But I am happy to say that through good friendships, therapy, and some personal reflection time, I was able to push through and get excited for the school year.
Here are some of my tips for beating the Summer Blues:
- Talk with a trusted friend about your feelings. There’s nothing better than having a close friend and confidante that you can share with. If you’re struggling with something, just talking about it with a friend who can offer an outside perspective can be really affirming. A good friend should know just what you need to hear, whether it’s tough love, encouragement, or just an ear to listen and make you feel heard.
- Go school shopping. Whether it’s a new wardrobe for the new year, or decorations for your classroom, find something that you need to purchase for the new year and have fun shopping for it. For me, I desperately needed a new wardrobe and once I took the time to shop for the clothes that I would be wearing during this upcoming school year, I started to get excited about the idea of going back.
- Exercise. Yeah, I know. I just said that. I used to be the person who enjoyed eating pizza on the couch and binging on Netflix while other people laced up their running shoes and hit the gym. I never exercised. But I needed to get in shape, so I started by just walking around, then added some light weight training and some additional cardio like cycling or swimming. I’ve found it’s one of the fastest ways to improve my mood, faster than any anti-depressant. It’s important to find exercise that works for you and excites you. It doesn’t have to be a crazy intense workout; find the exercise that excites you to do regularly.
- Travel. Whether you’re discovering a new restaurant or store in town on a staycation or traveling to the other side of the planet, exploring the world around you can be an adventure that gets you out of your funk. This summer, we went to Nashville and Thailand where we got to eat amazing food, listen to music, and experience life in a way that’s different from how we live it back home. Getting out of your comfort zone can feed your soul and help you appreciate the little things about your own routine when you get back home.
- Self Care. Get a facial, hair cut, eyelash extensions, your nails done, or whatever else you’ve been wanting to do. If you’re strapped for cash, get a cheap face mask and a plastic tub with some epsom salt from Target and watch Netflix while you soak your feet and moisturize your face. Do the things that make you feel pretty and give you energy and confidence.
- Visit your school. This has really helped me a lot in the past. I sometimes avoid it like the plague (especially at the beginning of the summer), but getting into your room and preparing it for the next school year can really get you excited for school to start again, especially after things get cleaned up and organized. If you’re close with your coworkers, you could even arrange a day for some of you to come in together and share a meal or something while you each get your work done. Sometimes you literally need to get rid of all the old stuff from last year and focus on what’s coming in the new year.
- See a counselor or therapist. If you’ve tried the suggestions above and nothing is working, it might be worth making time to see a professional. I was diagnosed with anxiety a year and a half ago, and seeing someone once a week to help manage it has been invaluable. Counselors and therapists sometimes get a bad rap, but they’re trained to be able to help you work through your problems, and more people see them than you might think. Even if it’s just for a short term problem, consider talking to someone in a professional setting if you just can’t shake the Summer Blues after trying to do it on your own.
We all struggle at times. We all need a break from our routines and wonder whether the professional choices we’ve made are the right ones. It’s natural to struggle with the idea of going back to work after you’ve had the freedom of being off for the whole summer, and sometimes our bodies, hearts, and minds need a little reset to get in the right headspace for the upcoming school year.
If you are in that season right now, hopefully this blog will give you some ideas about how you can beat those Summer Blues and get back to being excited for the new school year to begin.