The summer can be a great time to reconnect with friends, enjoy the weather with others, and make plans with people you haven’t seen in a while — but the social gatherings that accompany the summer months can feel stressful and draining. And on top of that stress, so many of us fall prey to the comparison trap that comes with seeing everyone else’s plans on social media. Whether we’re overbooking ourselves or feeling lesser than when we don’t have elaborate plans for Fourth of July, we may need some extra tools to help us recharge and reset this summer.

We asked our Thrive community to share with us the small ways they protect their energy and mental health during the summertime. Which of these tips will you try?

Make plans with people who energize you

“The summer can steal your strength from the heat, and where I live in Florida, the heat is so extreme that it saps your energy, so I travel to cooler places. I also make sure I get plenty of quiet time and I work every day at being true to myself no matter what the season is. That means not being around people who sap your energy, too. If someone makes you feel good about yourself, it brings you joy. If they make you feel badly about yourself,  it’s like the hot sun bearing down on you. Find the friends who give you shade and don’t try to steal your thunder.”

 —MJ, mental health counselor, FL

Embrace the warm weather

“I make the most of the summer weather by getting outside more and boosting my energy through connecting with nature. I love getting more sunlight and feeling the elements on my skin. As a social introvert,  I make sure walks on my own are balanced with time with friends. I try to meet up with others outside wherever possible, whether it’s over drinks in the garden, picnics, camping trips, or outdoor games with friends. These activities bring rejuvenating laughter to help us feel alive and energized.”

 —Rachel Anderson, executive coach, North Yorkshire, UK

Give yourself permission to stay home

“I have really strong boundaries around the 4th of July holiday week to help me manage the festivities.  While I love summer picnics and consider myself pretty darn patriotic, I made a decision to bow out of most of the holiday festivities this year. I found the crowds and loud fireworks to be pretty stressful and the festivities have always depleted my energy. I block off several days before and after the 4th on my calendar for staying home and staying in. Friends and family know I don’t travel or go out for this holiday. I stay in and stay off social media so that I don’t have FOMO. It’s a great time to listen to music, watch movies, stay in the AC, and be thankful for my freedoms.”

 —Annie Bauer, coach and writer, Asheville, NC

Carve out time for self-care

“The summertime is a time of fun and relaxation, and we enjoy the weather, outdoor activities, and family time. However, it can also be a challenging time for many people due to the lack of sunlight and high temperatures. I find that by taking care of my mental health during the summertime, I am able to maintain my energy. I do this by making sure I’m eating healthy foods, exercising regularly, and practicing mindfulness throughout the day.” 

 —Kristin Marquet, founder and creative director, NY

Stock your fridge with refreshing foods

“Spending my summers in Spain means it can be tough balancing guests, socializing, and work.  I always make sure the fridge is stocked with plenty of chilled water, melon, berries and gazpacho, so there’s no reaching for unhealthy snacks after a heavy night out. In the morning, I go for an early dip in the chilled sea to refresh and recharge, taking plenty of deep breaths and just being grateful to have this time.”

 —Valerie Green, health and stress management coach, London, UK

Create intentional pauses

 “I love the energy of summer. I enjoy the extra daylight, the time resetting and the opportunity to relax — but even a vacation can take more energy than we have. I use intentional pauses to be sure that I have the energy to enjoy the summer. Those intentional pauses include getting to bed early to get a great night’s sleep, staying off social media for a day, or carving out a day to reset after vacation. That extra day away from work helps me catch up on laundry, get groceries, check email and reset any organizing for the week ahead. It takes intentional pauses to ensure my energy and joy are high.”

 —Ellen Delap, certified professional organizer, Kingwood, TX

Decline invitations when necessary

“I’ve always been drawn to the social escapades of summer, but I often find myself feeling drained or stressed in the process. After the last two years of isolation, our social calendars are packed to make up for lost time with weddings, family gatherings, and work socials — and this is accompanied by overbooking, feelings of obligation, and social anxiety. To aid in these challenges, I make sure not to say yes immediately! I suggest checking your calendar and evaluating what your work week might look like. It’s okay to say no or even cancel down the line if your schedule ends up changing. Use a simple, ‘That sounds like a fun idea, let me get back to you tomorrow to see if I can make it work.’” 

 —Elizabeth Tsachres, MPH, health communications specialist, San Francisco, CA

Take a solo walk

“Summertime brings longer days and gorgeous sunshine, which I am a firm believer in taking advantage of. I love to go for walks on the beach either early morning or early evening. This is a wonderful opportunity to do a walking meditation if I am walking solo, or to have a present and attentive conversation with either my son, my husband or a good friend. Longer days and more sunshine should not equate to longer working hours and less down time.”

 —Candice Tomlinson, coach and hypnotherapist, Sydney, Australia

Unplug when you take PTO

“The one ‘small’ thing I do over the summer to protect my energy and mental health is actually use my PTO. And not in a ‘I’m-off-but-you-can-still-reach-me’ kind of way. When I’m off, I’m off. The demands on my time – combined with the sense of responsibility I feel for my employees, contractors, family and friends – often compels me to say ‘yes’ to every request and stretch myself thin in an attempt to support everyone well. But I’ve finally realized who I fail to support – and who I’m actually saying ’no’ to – when I say ‘yes’ to everyone else. So while I make a concerted effort to take PTO all year long, I’m even more intentional over the summer.”

 —Tricia Sciortino, CEO, Charlotte, NC

Try a family cooking night

“One very effective way I’m not only protecting, but expanding, my energy is by cooking while listening to beautiful music, and enlivening my senses with the art of dining with my family. The summer holds so many fruit and vegetable options.  I like to pick out a French recipe, for example, find some beautiful cafe music, and create an experience for my family that transports us in mind, sense, and spirit to the countryside of France.  We linger over dinner and wine, and I feel as though I’ve done something thoughtful and meaningful for us all.  It’s an exquisite experience that helps us all recharge.” 

 —Melissa Chapman, divisional head of talent acquisition, Atlanta, GA

Remind yourself that social media doesn’t tell the whole story

“I find it helpful to de-stress through positive affirmations, spending time with people who love you unconditionally, and taking time to recharge. Summer can also bring a lot of comparison, and that can be distressing. Keep in mind that while you see many colorful posts on social media, not all are true. People post their highlight reels, and do not post their failures.” 

 —Archana Kini, psychologist 

Give yourself time to recharge

“My intention for summer is to give myself the gift of a seasonal recharge. Instead of starting new projects in my business or feeling the urge to fill in spaces with more work, I’m going to recharge my batteries by enjoying adventures with my kids and allowing room for creativity to flow in. Autumn has always been the season where I have the energy and mind space to hit the ground running in my business, but it’s contingent upon giving myself ample time to recharge over the summer. It’s all about energy resourcing.”

 —Emily Madill, author and creativity coach (ACC), Nanaimo, B.C., Canada

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  • Marina Khidekel

    Chief Content Officer at Thrive

    Marina leads strategy, ideation and execution of Thrive's content company-wide, including cross-platform brand partnership and content marketing campaigns, curricula, and the voice of the Thrive platform. She's the author of Thrive's first book, Your Time to Thrive. In her role, Marina brings Thrive's audience actionable, science-backed tips for reducing stress and improving their physical and mental well-being, and shares those insights on panels and in national outlets like NBC's TODAY. Previously, Marina held senior editorial roles at Women's Health, Cosmopolitan, and Glamour, where she edited award-winning health and mental health features and spearheaded the campaigns and partnerships around them.