Congratulations – you’ve made it! The summer holidays are here. But have you thought about your summer holiday wellbeing?
Just because revision, regular homework, lessons, and lectures will soon be a distant memory (for most people), doesn’t mean that things will automatically be perfect.
We’ve heard that the summer can be a bit disorientating or overwhelming, as weeks without routine or purpose stretch out ahead. So we’ve got five top tips to help you boost your summer holiday wellbeing.
Make a new routine
One of the benefits of term-time is that it gives you structure and routine. Older students often have more flexibility and freedom to manage their own time, with fewer hours of teaching at colleges and universities compared to schools, but they still have some contact hours and support to order their day.
Lots of people find that routines make it easier for them to take care of themselves. Every day, we do things like brushing our teeth, eating, relaxing, and connecting with others. When these things are part of an established routine, it often seems like they take less effort and energy. Without a routine, taking care of yourself can quickly feel overwhelming!
So, boost your summer holiday wellbeing with a summer holiday routine. It doesn’t have to be the same as your term-time routine. And it’s OK to be real about it too – you’re probably not going to get up at the crack of dawn to watch the sun rise every day, and that’s OK.
Start by asking yourself about the fundamental things you need to do every day. They probably include things like eating meals, brushing your teeth and showering, and maybe getting out of the house or moving your body. And don’t forget about sleep too!
How can you keep these things up without the external structure of lessons or lectures? What support do you need? Some people might find it helpful to write or draw their routines out, while others use apps like Mentor360 (on iOS or Android) or Intellect (on iOS or Android) to keep track. You could even agree to check in with a friend to keep each other motivated.
Set some goals
Since September, you’ve been working towards goals like learning skills and finishing assignments – so it’s not surprising if the summer holiday leaves you feeling a little lost and without purpose!
The good news is that over the summer holidays, you can set your own goals. What interests you?
Goals don’t have to be complex – it could be as simple as exploring your local area with a friend, learning a new recipe, or tidying your room so you have a calm space to work next academic year. You could even make a ‘summer bucket list’ that you’d like to aim to complete before September.
If you’re stuck for inspiration, check out the five ways to wellbeing. Can you come up with a summer holiday wellbeing goal related to each?
Make the most of opportunities locally or online
You can google ‘summer holiday activities for young people in [your local area]’ to see what’s going on. If you’re in North West London, there are links to youth groups and other activities on our new borough pages.
Nothing interesting happening near you? Thanks to the internet, you can access loads of free courses. FutureLearn has over 1,000 free courses on diverse topics including video game character design, ecology and wildlife conservation, and Norwegian. Find out how to join a free course on the FutureLearn website.
If you’re up for giving something back, you might be able to volunteer! The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) website has ideas for virtual or remote volunteering. You can also find volunteering roles through the Team London website.
Be aware of social media
Don’t fall into a social media sinkhole this summer. You might want to post some of your summer highlights so you can look back on your favourite memories or use social media to find out about cool opportunities in your area – but try to be aware of how much you’re using social media and how it’s making you feel.
Coping with worries
Some people find that having more free time over the summer holiday makes it harder to manage worries and spiralling thoughts. You might feel unsure about events over summer (like holidays or meeting up with friends) or even about going back to school, college, or university in September.
Different people prefer to manage these feelings in different ways.
Some people like to use apps – you can find top rated apps for anxiety on the Best For You app library. Every app in the app library has been checked to make sure it’s trustworthy and safe.
Kooth is a free, safe, anonymous online wellbeing community for young people. It’s available throughout London (and in lots of other places across the UK). It has features including a journal, magazine, and discussion boards. Find out more about Kooth on the Digital mental health support page.
You don’t have to manage on your own, even if you don’t want to talk to someone you know yet. You can always text NATTER to 85258 to text with a trained volunteer (it’s anonymous and free), or check out other places you can call or online chat on the Get help now page.
Making a self-soothe box can help people manage anxiety and other difficult feelings. You could include a list of activities you can do to soothe your body, like watching a favourite TV show or spending time outside.
Most people feel anxious sometimes – it’s part of how our brains prepare us to manage stressful events. It’s really normal to feel worried or unsure about big changes, like changing schools or moving to university. But if you’re feeling worried or panicky all the time, or it’s getting in the way of your daily life, then you might be experiencing an anxiety disorder. If you think you might have an anxiety disorder, it’s a good idea to speak to an adult you trust about getting support.