Health, Lifestyle, Mental, Tips

Summer is Stressful: An Unpopular Opinion

An interesting concept, if you think about it. Exactly the opposite of what summer is supposed to be: fun and carefree. I find myself feeling the tiniest irk of oppression even weeks before summer begins and during spurts while it’s in full swing. Last week I read a blog post on Advice from a 20 Something – a great site to check out if you don’t already follow – about some pressures that summer brings and how to handle them. Until reading that post, I didn’t even realize that I FELT THAT. Everything resonated so closely with me and got me to thinking.

In my mind I would love to be someone that is go-go-go, always on the move, exploring new adventures. But when I actually try to be that person, I get easily worn out and anxious. Plainly, I don’t like to be rushed, and I feel like there aren’t enough hours in a day to accomplish all that I want to with additional time to spare. I’ve tried to get home from work, changing quick and run right back out the door ASAP to get to other plans , whether it be a dinner date, rollerblading/biking with a friend, a festival, and it just doesn’t work well for me. Simply picturing that brought me stress!

The big expectations for summer can put a lot of pressure on you if you let it. It’s hard to see all the people on Instagram doing all sorts of new things in both their personal & professional life and not feel a little twinge of jealousy. The wow I wish my summer looked like that kind of thoughts. I’ve found a few ways to keep myself from the slippery slope that those pressures propose.

The first pressure I feel is the need to advance and develop my professional life. Summer means you just finished another year of schooling, which means you are one year closer to when you’re supposed to have everything figured out. Relatives fire questions at you like Where are you working? Do you have an internship? and for my fellow seniors it’s the big Do you have a job lined up after graduation? It’s stressful and exhausting to explain over and over again where you are at in that process. Some people have it figured out, some don’t. Both are JUST FINE! Nobody ever has it all figured out, and I don’t think many college students fully understand that.

The second one is the need to always be doing something, which was discussed in the original blog post mentioned above. There are only three months out of the year where your time is totally YOURS. You get to control how you choose to spend it, so the pressure to do everything fun thing in the book is huge & heavy. When I was in high school, I saw so many people at concerts and festivals every weekend – there wasn’t a day that I opened up Instagram and didn’t think Wow, I wish I did fun things like that. Especially in the world we live in today, it’s extremely hard to not forget that social media distorts what someone’s life may truly be like.

SOME TIPS FOR HANDLING THE PRESSURE

When it comes to my professional life, I’ve begun to embrace the fact that I don’t have a strict & tight career timeline to follow. Some individuals know exactly what they want their career to look like and have it mapped out strategically. Personally, I’m learning as I go and trusting that it will lead me to the place that I’m meant to be. Stressing about future plans just ruins where you are now – this something that I’ve had issues with the last couple of months and it ends up hindering your thoughts and even your relationships in the present.

How I’ve solved the Insta-envy issue has included some trial and error over the years. As I mentioned, I always wanted to be that person who was at every concert, festival, or lake day snapping cute pics that made me look way cooler than I really was (looking back on it now makes me laugh). So why not go out and try it, right? Summerfest came around one summer and we could finally drive ourselves there without our parents that year. I went with a group of girls, and now I know I am not a concert lover, LET ME TELL YOU. The second we stepped on Summerfest grounds, everyone was flying at a million miles an hour – barely even taking in where we were and rushing to the stage to then force our way to the front where there was clearly no open space. I felt totally overwhelmed and super stressed, like, can we just chill for a moment?!?! Not to mention embarrassed for being *those* girls that try to shove their way through gaps as big as a keyhole. After learning this about myself, it’s much easier to look at a photo and think Oh cute pic! and not wish I was the one living it. I’ve relieved myself of some of that Instagram pressure now because I know how it feels to be there.

Put down the phone and pick up a book, my friends. This is pretty specific, I know, and some of you that don’t like reading are probably like uh yeah no thanks . . but, if writing is more your cup of tea, a journal has the same effect! Or anything really that takes your attention away from the screen. It helps so much with living in the moment. When I’m nose-deep in a good book, there’s no chance I’m thinking about what the people on my Instagram timeline are doing. Your focused on right then & there – gives you a little mental getaway from real life! Also, I just hate staring at a screen for so many hours each day. Physically it makes my eyes hurt and gives me headaches, and mentally it leaves me thinking about how other people are living their lives. The most important person I should be thinking about is myself and how I’m living my life.

Lastly, a little side note – the number one thing that has changed my life during the summer is working out in the morning. A total game changer, if you ask me. It’s on my to-do list just about every day, and if I don’t get it done right when I wake up, I’m thinking about it all day. After a long day at work it really sucks getting your butt into the gym, and you often end up convincing yourself out of it if other plans come up. If someone would reach out to make plans that night, I’d have to choose between working out or hanging with friends – and no one wants to be the only one missing a GNO! Getting it done first thing leaves your summer nights wiiiiiide open for whatever spur of the moment plans happen to come up throughout the day. Happy hour? Concert in the park? Quick pontoon ride? You can count me in because I already got my workout in for the day!

Im curious – let me know if any of you get at all stressed or anxious when summer is right around the corner. How do you manage and get past it?? These tips have helped me tremendously. I feel like people think they’re alone in feeling this way, but it might actually be more common than we think. Let’s break the stigma, shall we!? Summer is all about fun, don’t let the pressure get ya down! If I had to bet on it, it’s all in our heads anyway (which is REALLY annoying but also a relief). Drop a comment or DM if you’d like to discuss!

-Becky

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