The Ultimate Summer Break Self-Care Playbook

Kavitta Ghai
June 14, 2023
Summer has finally arrived.

As academia shuts its doors for a season, the opportunity presents itself to shift gears, to step away from the grind, and focus on a factor often overlooked in the hustle: self-care. But let's set the record straight: self-care isn’t an indulgence or an excuse to slack off. It’s an intentional act of attending to our physical, emotional, and mental well-being, necessary for maintaining balance in our lives. It's not just about feeling good, it’s about equipping ourselves to live our best lives, to take on future challenges with vigor and resilience.

Why is this so crucial? Because living in a constantly connected world, juggling deadlines, assignments, and responsibilities, can lead to stress, anxiety, and burnout. We’ve all been there, pushing through the weariness, caught in a never-ending cycle of ‘busy.’ But everyone deserves a break. Everyone deserves the time to refuel, to reconnect with themselves, and to simply be.

As summer spreads its golden hues and the pace of life slows down, it's the perfect time to establish a thoughtful self-care routine. This is where our Ultimate Summer Break Self-Care Playbook comes in, a guide packed with practical and effective strategies to help you make the most of this summer break. It's time to prioritize your well-being and come back to the next academic year with renewed energy, perspective, and zest. So, let's dive in.

Let You Flow, 2009 by Moonassi

1. Hit the Pause Button As Often As Needed

Summer break is like a colossal 'pause' button. Take a moment to reflect on the past year, examining your wins, losses, and everything in between. How? Dedicate a quiet hour daily to journaling or meditating. Allow your mind to replay the past year's events, learning from every twist and turn. Jot down the moments and lessons that stand out most to you so that you can reflect upon them next summer.

2. Fire Up Your Passion Projects

Your personal interests shouldn't be stashed away during the academic year, however that’s what tends to happen to us all by finals season. Summer's the time to crack open the vault in your mind and make a list of everything you wish you had time for during school. Find what makes you tick, be it painting, music, or cooking, and dedicate some time each day to nourish that interest. Practice listening to your inner child and then giving them exactly what they’ve been asking for all year.

3. Learn Simply Because You Can

Bring back the joy of learning for the sake of learning. Ever wanted to learn to code? Bake sourdough? Play the ukulele? Grab an online course or a good book and give your curiosity free rein this summer. Remember, there are no grades here. Immerse yourself in learning without the judgment of needing to be “good” at any of it.

4. Practice Digital Silence

Our relationship with the digital world often leans towards complicated. Let's change that narrative.

  • Create Digital-Free Zones: Go screen-free for parts of your day. Whether it's during meals, before bedtime, or during your morning routine, replace screen time with an activity that energizes or relaxes you.
  • Be the Boss of Your Social Feed: Social media should inspire, not expire, your energy. Unfollow accounts that drain you and search for content that fuels your passion and positivity. Remember, you are the curator of your digital experience.

5. Nourish Your Physical Body

Physical self-care shouldn't feel like a chore. The key to consistency? Make it fun and rewarding.

  • Embrace the Play: Get moving and grooving in ways that don't feel like a grind. Swap your gym routine for a swim, a bike ride, or a hike. The point is to get active while soaking in the joy of movement.
  • Adventure in the Kitchen: Nutrition is about fueling your body. This summer, make friends with your kitchen. Experiment with vibrant salads, lean protein, fresh fruits, and veggies. Cooking can be therapeutic, and eating healthy doesn't mean sacrificing flavor.

6. Reconnect With Your Community

Self-care isn't a solitary journey. Building connections can be a part of your wellness routine.

  • Make a Difference: Making a difference in someone's life can boost your mood. Volunteer for a local charity, help a friend in need, or tutor a student. It's about giving back and feeling good about it.
  • Buddy Up: Invite a friend to join your self-care journey. You can motivate each other, share experiences, and make lasting memories. Plus, having an accountability partner can keep you on track.

7. Break the Mold & Explore Unique Ways to Unwind

This summer, color outside the lines of traditional self-care. Here are a few niche forms of mindfulness that we've added to our own routines this summer:

  • Forest Bathing—Nature's Therapy: Experience the healing power of nature with forest bathing. Take a leisurely walk in a local park or nature reserve. Leave your phone behind, immerse yourself in the surroundings, and just breathe.
  • Sound Baths—Meditative Melodies: Sound baths offer a unique way to unwind. Attend a local session or find a virtual one online. All you need to do is lay back, close your eyes, and let the resonating sounds soothe your mind.
  • Art Therapy—Brush Your Stress Away: Express your emotions with art therapy. You don't have to be Picasso, just get some paint, a canvas, and let your feelings guide your brush strokes.
  • Gratitude Practices—Life's Good, Acknowledge It: Adopt a gratitude practice. Whether it's writing in a gratitude journal each night or creating a gratitude jar where you add a note every day, focusing on the positive can shift your perspective.

As we wrap up our Ultimate Summer Break Self-Care Playbook, remember that this summer break is more than just a pause in academics; it's your golden ticket to personal rejuvenation. These practices are not merely items on a checklist, but fundamental shifts in perspective and lifestyle, geared towards nourishing your well-being. But remember, self-care isn't one-size-fits-all. Feel free to tweak these practices, mix and match, or create your own based on what feels right for you.

At the end of the day, it's about understanding and acknowledging your needs and giving yourself the permission to prioritize them. You deserve this break. You deserve the time to recharge, explore, and simply revel in the joy of summer.

Kavitta Ghai
June 14, 2023

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