As you gear up for summer, it’s also a good time to do a mental health check. There are a lot of pressures that come with the warmer weather season – travel plans, weddings, having that “summer body” – even moving or work. It’s important to remember that less truly is more during this busy season.
Check in with your mental health this June – and the busy summer ahead – with these 5 tips:
1. Say ‘yes’ less often.
Say ‘yes’ less to all the potential summer activities, and prioritizing the things you actually need to, and want to do. Too often we prioritize other people’s needs over our own – and that’s sure to lead to anxiety, resentment, and falling behind on what’s truly important. By saying ‘yes’ less often you might actually feel better. So be selfish and put your needs first rather than those of the person asking you for something. Plan for what you really want to get out of this summer – and plan to give yourself a break to make it worthwhile.
2. Take shorter trips.
Traditionally, individuals and families take one, long summer vacation. Although this might seem ideal and offer a hiatus of sorts from work — it can also be stressful to plan, expensive, and limited to just a week or two – while the rest of the summer is still dominated by work and daily demands. By contrast, taking several small weekend getaways throughout the season will provide you with more frequent breaks, more to look forward to, are generally more affordable, and less taxing to plan. According to a recent survey by Enterprise Rent-A-Car, with whom I’ve partnered, 85% of people say it is less stressful to take a short vacation than a long one. Safe to say, shorter weekend getaways can positively affect your overall mental health this travel season.
3. Unplug to de-stress.
Like it or not, social media and technology have become an integral part of our lives – perhaps especially during a vacation to document the experience in real time – taking away the true getaway. Accordingly to the Enterprise Rent-A-Car weekend getaway survey, 87% of respondents believe that by turning off alerts and notifications on their devices it will help them to de-stress. Try focusing less on technology and more on the people – and places – right in front of you, and strike a healthy balance between social media life and real life.
4. Worry less.
Does worrying ever really make problems go away, less intense or prevent them from occurring? The more attention we give to worrying, the worse it makes us feel. That said, realize that worrying isn’t your friend – it’s merely a symptom of how you feel. So next time you start to worry about all the summer to-do’s, ask yourself, what’s this really about? What part of this issue or problem can I control, and then take the steps to solve it. Focus on what is right in front of you, first – and nix the superfluous stressors.
5. Sleep less on the weekends.
Although it’s tempting to sleep in, it will actually rob you of valuable time to make the most of your summer weekends. Even more-so – it can affect your sleep schedule for the rest of the week (don’t underestimate the power of sleep). Instead, find reasons to get up and get going on the weekends – it doesn’t have to be anything big! More than half of respondents to the above survey say they believe that having a brand-new experience or doing an activity they’ve never done before is what makes a weekend getaway an escape – which is just what your mental health needs.
So, as you head into the summer travel season, do you best to adopt the “less is more” mindset to keep stress at bay during one of the busiest times of the year.
Be Fearless: Change Your Life in 28 Days by Jonathan Alpert.
Stay up to date or catch-up on all our podcasts with Arianna Huffington here.