Even as the sun shines down on the city and destinations are opening back up, some of us still may be feeling down in the dumps. Maybe separation from school, friends and family during the long months off is getting to you. Maybe you haven’t had the chance to get out and soak up some rays yet. Either way, I feel that everyone is a bit affected by the summer scaries. Fear no more, because I have the hookup for some of the best summer self-care practices you can do to lift your spirits and feel the joy and freedom summer can bring. Let’s jump right in.
My first suggestion would be journaling. Sometimes journaling can seem like an impossible task, but here are some tips for divvying it up into bite size responsibilities. First, I like to make a bullet point list of things I did that day. Whether I lounged around like a couch potato or went out with friends, I find that documenting these little things is a comfort later and a good way to remain present as the summer days blend together. Second, I either compile a list of prompts or derive inspiration from those around me to just start writing. Whether this includes reflection on the school year, my relationships with others, or small objectives for working on myself, these prompts help me focus my thoughts when I’m feeling restless. Last, I structure my entries like an interview with myself (or an invisible narrator, if that’s not too freaky for you). By asking myself honest questions, I can peel back the layers of introspection and imagine I’m telling a friend or a talk show host about myself and my life lately. This technique always does the trick if I’m feeling bored. Getting to know yourself through writing is a valuable skill. Use it!
Next, a seriously underrated summer activity is going on walks. You may be thinking, well, what about the sweat and bugs and chafing and et cetera? I say it may be worth it. Getting a comfy and cool outfit on, grabbing your favorite playlist and earbuds and going for a stroll will get your lungs and brain working and your heart pumping. Soaking up the sun while getting in touch and grounded with the community around you will renew your soul and mind. Or if you’re like me, and prefer to safely explore new environments, take the bus or train to a nearby park and make your rounds there!
Lastly, take the time this summer to open a book. Beyond analyzing stories and characters, reading is meditative for me. It allows space for my mind to explore other realities, possibilities and personalities outside of my own, and share in others talents as well. This inspires me more than anything, and it’s a productive form of entertainment. Some of my previous reviews and recommendations are available on True Star’s blog in the books section. Teen reading programs are available for free at your nearest Chicago Public Library location. Whichever form of self-care you choose to enact this summer, I hope it restores a bit of rest and peace to your daily routine. Stay safe, and know that you’re capable of doing the things you set out to do!
By Leah Ollie, Freshman at Butler University,