Ah, Memorial Day Weekend brings the traditional beginning of summer. Schools will soon be out. Vacations are planned. We can spend lots of time out of doors. So, there is no stress, right? Well, maybe and maybe not. The change in routine brings stress. Even exciting events, like vacations, bring stress. With good weather we place lots of expectations on ourselves. Here are some ideas to beat the ‘summertime blues.’
While summer offers many opportunities for fun activities, keep in mind that it’s okay to say no to some. Sometimes even fun activities can lead to stress if your schedule is overloaded, so carefully choose among the barbeques, beach days, soirees and other activities and just do what you think you’ll truly enjoy, remembering to also make room for some genuine “down time.”
Keep Kids Occupied
While it’s nice to have kids around more often, and a relief to have a break from all the class projects, school fundraisers, and other events that go along with the school year, summer presents its own list of demands. You’ll need to have some enriching activities to keep them happy and stimulated so boredom doesn’t create misery for all of you. Keeping the house clean, taking kids to various summer activities, preventing excessive bickering between bored siblings and, for working parents, finding alternate child care are just a few of the main issues that arise, each demanding its own set of solutions.
While you’re already setting boundaries on your social schedule, you may need to remember to set boundaries at work as well. Don’t let the siren song of summer steal your focus from your job duties—stay as productive as possible—but be careful not to take on too many of your vacationing co-workers’ responsibilities either.
Try a Staycation or Playcation
Yes, staycations, and even playcations, have become the new vacations of choice for those who can’t spare the time or the money for a traditional vacation. In some cases, these can even be better for your stress levels. (Ever hear of someone coming back from their too-busy vacation feeling like they need a vacation from their vacation? Or of a ‘working vacation’ that just turned into an exercise in ‘working from a less convenient location’?)
Covering for Co-Workers
If you skip the vacation (as many people do), you may still experience stress from vacations that your co-workers take. With a significant number of people in a given workplace taking time off, the regular operations of the office can be disrupted. Make plans with your co-workers on who will cover various responsibilities during time off. Let key stake holders know when you will be gone, who will cover your work, and when you will return.
Stressed about Returning from Work?
Make time on your calendar to catch up the day you return. Use the time to meet with your manager and your backup to review outstanding issues and to catch up on email and voice mail. Be sure to put an “out of office” message on your email and voice mail. Clean up your workspace so you don’t come back to a mess.
When All Else Fails
There are plenty of other relaxing activities or energizing activities like cycling, canoeing, walking your dog, boating, swimming, golf, etc., maybe even a summertime family walk after dinner or some lounging and talking on the back patio. What is your favorite?
Each season truly presents new challenges. Solutions can help you find a mental health professional in your area and provide you with helpful resources and information. Call us at 800-766-0068 for an appointment with a professional. Or you can directly schedule an appointment with a provider.
We hope that by the time fall arrives you aren’t singing, “Sometimes I wonder what I’m gonna do, ‘cause there ain’t no cure for the summertime blues.”