Summer vacation, barring time and financial restrictions, of course, can be anything you want it to be. It can be an exciting adventure, or a leisurely week in your pajamas, or perhaps even a mixture of both. Unfortunately, it’s easy for life to get in the way of your vacationing fun. Plans may change, weather may be spotty, relationships with your family may be tense. Perhaps you’re just feeling down in the dumps. Check out these tips in order to help keep your vacation as fun, exciting, and as stress-free as possible!
Firstly, keep in mind what you really want to be doing with your time. Don’t let other people control your vacation if you can help it! Don’t become the “yes-man” who is continually pulled into other people’s trips and plans. Instead, stick to events with friends and family that you want to go to. Basically, you don’t need to go to every BBQ or pool party you’re invited to. If you need a day to yourself at home, take it! Never let others – even your own family – push you into doing things that you aren’t comfortable with. Although having family time is important, your mental health should always take priority. Keep in mind that it’s never shameful to let your family know that you need a break; we’ve all been there!
Make sure to plan ahead for big trips. Spontaneity is all well and good, but it can lead to logistical problems if you don’t think through your plans, which will contribute to your overall stress levels. It’s never a bad idea to double-check the weather, your luggage (if you plan a longer trip), and your schedule, along with the schedules of anyone that might be coming along with you. If plans do happen to fall through, don’t let yourself get too caught up in the disappointment – plan a new trip instead! You may just be able to plan something even better.
Another important tip is to stay safe from the sun when you’re outdoors! Although it sounds a little cliché, sunglasses and sunscreen really are your best friends. Try not to stay in direct sunlight for too long, in order to avoid damage to your skin – plus, a sunburn can really put a damper on your trip. And drink plenty of water. It’s much too easy to succumb to dehydration and heatstroke.
If you often find yourself feeling particularly depressed during the summer months, you may be experiencing SAD – or Seasonal Affective Disorder. Although SAD often affects people more during colder months, about 10% of people get SAD during the warmer months. Thankfully, there are a number of ways to help fight SAD. Along with the tips mentioned above, if you still find yourself coping with depressive feelings during the summer, you should, first and foremost, see your doctor or therapist. Even if you are unsure if you have something or not, it’s never a bad idea to keep your mental health in check.
Finally, be mindful of yourself and your boundaries – and remember to give yourself space and self-care. In order words, don’t sweat the small stuff! If you find yourself obsessing over dates and plans, take a step back – always prioritize your health over your plans. Do remember to allow yourself to live presently and in the moment. If you spend your whole summer worrying about your vacation, then it won’t be much of a vacation at all! Stay safe, stay relaxed, and enjoy your last month or so of vacation time!