Mental health and wellness: Fourteen ways to employ self-care over the summer


Plus extra tips if you are taking summer courses

Coping with stress and mental illness can be a difficult task. The summer break can be a great way to try to revitalize your mental health from the previous semester’s stresses and even offers great ways to refresh while you are enrolled in summer courses.

Keeping busy and finding time for self-care are amongst the many ways listed below that can help kickstart your mental health vacation.

1. Do some reading

Make and maintain a reading bucket-list this summer. Choose a few titles that you know will bring you joy.

2. Start a new hobby or pick up an old one

You know that one thing you always say you’ll get around to? Whether it be painting, writing, or gardening, now is the time to give it a try.

3. Pamper yourself

Take a few moments out of your day to devote completely to yourself. Stick to your skincare routine, whip up a DIY face mask, or take a nice warm bath.

4. Start doing yoga and meditation

This can help lower your stress levels and increase mindfulness. For students enrolled in summer courses, taking a meditation or yoga study break can serve as a healthy way to increase productivity while lowering levels of anxiety.

5. Go for a walk outside

You’ve been cooped up indoors all winter studying; take advantage of the beautiful weather summer has to offer. Bring along a friend, a pet, or just some music and you’re in for a relaxing de-stressor that also keeps you active.

6. Talk to a friend

Text them, call them, or go visit them in person for a coffee-shop date. Talking to close friends and loved ones can help lower stress levels.

7. Sign up for community activities.

Go visit your community’s recreation centre. There are almost always activities going on that are either free or relatively cost-effective to join: free swimming, community sports leagues, art classes—you name it.

8. Volunteer

If you don’t have time to volunteer through the school year, summer provides a great opportunity to put a few hours in. It feels great, you’re helping people out, and it’s a great experience to add to your resume.

9. Cook your favourite meal

Cooking can be therapeutic in nature and, at the end of it, you get a delicious meal. As for the summer students, this can also serve as a great study break; staying fuelled throughout the day can help increase your productivity.

10. Sunbathe

Simply laying out in your backyard or on your porch can be very relaxing. For summer students, take some of that work outside. The sunshine gives you vitamin D and it will not only boost your mood, but you’ll also get your intake of fresh air. Just be sure to wear sunscreen!

11. Go to the beach

The water and sun can boost your mood and being outdoors does wonders for lowering stress and anxiety levels.

12. Visit the local spots around town

Some healthy competition between friends at a board game café or escape room can be a great study break and de-stressor.

13. Have a picnic

Hiking trails and nature reserves can serve as great backdrops for a picnic under the sun. Pack some food, a blanket, some sunscreen, and you’re all set!

14. Go to the drive-in

Going to the drive-in theatre is a staple summer activity that can get your mind off your daily stresses for a few hours while catching up on the latest blockbusters.

Photo by Mariah Bridgeman/The Ontarion.