After all the stresses of the past year, the thought of relaxing and just enjoying the summer months can feel alien and unfamiliar.
Your body hears everything your mind says.
Nothing is certain, of course, but you can reduce anxiety and let yourself go with this advice from the University of Colorado website:
- Let yourself feel everything. Don’t try to force happiness. Allow yourself to feel a full range of emotions—excitement, anxiety, joy, sadness, and everything else. You’re able to experience multiple emotions at the same time, after all. You can be excited about traveling, yet nervous about flying on an airplane, for example. Learn to balance your emotions so a single feeling doesn’t overwhelm you.
- Take a proactive approach. Confront your fears openly. This can be as simple as brainstorming summer projects or just making a packing list for a trip. Come up with a list of friends you can depend on for support if things get emotionally tough.
- Accept what you can’t control. Things happen. Don’t try to take on everything. For example, you don’t know what the weather will bring on a day you’ve planned for a hike, so be prepared with a raincoat and umbrella, or be ready to postpone activities until the day is more welcoming. You can’t predict what will happen during the continuing pandemic, but you can take steps to protect your health and your family.
- Find ways to cope. Practice meditation and mindfulness. Try journaling. Talk to a therapist, or a close friend you trust. Remember that exercise is good for the mind as well as the body, so get outside as much as you can. Spend time with friends and family you care about and don’t forget to celebrate the small victories.
- Take care of yourself. Eat healthy food and exercise regularly. Get plenty of rest and sleep, whatever else you’re up to. Identify sources of stress so you can take steps to alleviate it before it becomes too much to handle.