First off, congratulations are in order. You’ve successfully finished another year of school. After working hard for eight months – balancing academics, exercise, a social life and all the while trying to find some time to get enough sleep – you’ve earned your sunny days.
Whether you’re heading into your junior, sophomore or senior year, into a postgraduate program or taking the first steps into establishing your career, the summer months provide an important time to recalibrate. The summer affords us time to work, volunteer, play sports, take a vacation, catch up on or get ahead of next semester. No matter how you’re spending your summer, it’s important that you make time to focus on you. We’ve assembled four tips to make the most out of your summer and boost your wellbeing – check them out below and remember that no matter what September holds for you, the best way to stay on top of your game is by keeping healthy habits like eating right, getting active and staying in touch with friends.
Get Some Vitamin D
For those of us north of the equator, the warmer temperatures from Spring to Fall are a great time to get outside and soak up the sunshine. While it’s always a good idea to make sure you’re wearing adequate sun protection, ensuring that your body is receiving its daily dose of Vitamin D will go a long way to ensuring you’re warding off physical and mental illnesses. Depending on your complexion, environment and atmospheric conditions, you’ll need anywhere from just 10 minutes of exposure to an hour of sunlight to produce the recommended daily intake of Vitamin D. Check out the Norwegian Institute for Air Research’s calculator here to find out how much sun is right for you. Catching some rays is also a good excuse to break away from the sedentary leisure of Netflix and reruns and find a reason to meet up with friends. Want to avoid F.O.M.O. and enjoy the summer to its fullest? Why not try…
In previous blogposts, we’ve emphasized the restorative power of exercise for mental health and general wellbeing. In many cities and towns, there are dozens of intramural or recreational league sports that you can join in on to get a weekly dose of athleticism and glory. Sports participation will help you remain mentally sharp, healthy and will provide an opportunity to be part of a social circle of people, all working toward the same thing: winning together. Want another want a way to stay sharp, focused and ready to conquer next semester? Then you should…
Avoid Brain Drain
After all of April’s late-night cramming ahead of exams and rapid final report writing, it’s easy to just shrug off the books for the next four months and assume it’ll be easy to pick up where you left off when school starts again. The fact of the matter is, summer brain drain is real and can rob us of the newfound knowledge earned over past semesters. This loss can make the first few weeks of the new school year even more challenging and trying on your sense of wellbeing. In a study from John Hopkins University, students with a shorter summer break (and therefore less time away from exposure to the curriculum) performed better than students with a longer summer break. That doesn’t mean you have to enroll in summer courses to stay on the ball but reviewing your notes and even reading on the upcoming year’s syllabus will help ensure your ready to start next semester off on the right foot. Want another way to avoid brain drain? Then…
Don’t Drink Too Much
Without the obligations and responsibilities of school’s deadlines and due dates, the allure of seeing the summertime as a time to party non-stop can be enticing – cold beers on a warm night can feel just right. And that’s okay – the summer is the right time to catch up with friends, old and new, to have some fun. What’s not okay is drinking to excess. As we’ve previously covered, alcohol has many negative mental and physiological effects. That’s not to mention criminal repercussions – there’s a reason that DUIs tend to spike during the summer months. Avoid being a statistic by limiting yourself to just a few drinks at social events. Not only will you likely avoid a hangover, but you’ll also prevent yourself from embarrassing yourself and spending the rest of your summer in social limbo. Alcohol also has detrimental effects on memory, so by avoiding binge drinking, you’ll be more likely to retain your scholarly sensibilities.
Summertime isn’t just for teachers – it’s for students too. Enjoy it responsibly and make the most out of your months off. This is the time to explore that new sport or hobby that you couldn’t to make time for during the school year. If you’re working, the summer is a time to build up your resume and earn a few dollars at the same time. Either way, no matter what your summer has in store for you, following these four tips will help ensure you’re at your best over the summer and for whatever lies ahead.