What do you do to help with your mental health over the summer?
The summer holidays can sometimes seem like a long period of time and some people can find going home a little bit difficult but it is important we make the most of it! The main thing that I believe helps with your mental health is keeping busy and the easiest way to do that is to work. Whether that be a part-time job as a waitress or work experience in something you’re interested in, using your time productively, making money and gaining experience can make you feel as though you’re achieving something and not just sitting around with your thoughts. I also use the time to practice mindfulness, meditation and the time that I have with myself as a way to build a stronger, more grounded relationship within. It wasn’t always this easy but it is so important that when I notice I’m feeling down, I try hard to do what I can to feel better.
What do you like to do during the summer?
Summer is the time for us to have fun, so I just do what I enjoy! Going out, making plans, seeing friends or catching up with my sisters. Going to a new city; or a different country and even long walks in the sunshine (if we’re lucky enough to get a little sun). I just ensure I remain around people who keep me happy and positive!
What do you find hardest in the summer?
Going from being incredibly busy with social gatherings, meeting university deadlines, investigating a new city and seeing new things almost every day, to then going back home is what brings me down. I take a while to adapt to change and settle into new situations and by the time I’ve got used to university life, it is time to go home again. In some ways, it made me feel as though I did not belong anywhere – but I had to realise this was not the case as all university students are in the same boat.
What differences have you found in your mental health over the summer compared to when you’re at university?
In some ways my mental health improved. I feel as though I have the freedom to go and do as I please as I am not constrained by university deadlines. In addition, sometimes being around the comfort and security of your old friends and family can benefit you too. However I missed the independence that university had to offer in terms of having my own space (which I truly believe is crucial in looking after your mental health). Being back at home can make you feel constrained as you may be living by someone else’s rules, but it’s important that you’re open and honest with your family and friends about anxieties you may have to ensure you feel more comfortable.
Do you have any advice for other students who struggle with their mental health in the summer?
Don’t allow the summer to be a time where you let your thoughts distract you and take over. Go and have fun! This is your free time and yes, there’s a lot of it but there’s a lot you can do with it. Be productive! Last summer I got work experience on a few independent film sets in Birmingham to contribute to my Media CV and Portfolio. I blogged, a lot. I worked and always tried to make plans with my friends. This is your time to heal.
Are you interested in getting involved in the “Mental Health over the Summer” blog series? Please do not hesitate to email us at email@example.com.