We work all year for the summer holidays. It feels like the treat we deserve and can often be a goal I worked for. But often when I get there, I end up thinking, what now?
Not having set things to do
It’s hard to admit, but sometimes the hardest times are when you don’t have things you ‘have’ to do. Suddenly, you have to find your own ways to fill up your time. You might even add a pressure on yourself, that you should be enjoying yourself all the time because you are not at school.
Be kind to yourself though, holidays are a complete shift in routine. School is structured and clear, and when you suddenly don’t have that, it’s normal to feel you are not sure what to do. That can be hard to realise when you feel you should be less stressed because there is less pressures of deadlines and exams.
School can often teach you that you have to be constantly achieving things, but remind yourself, it is okay to have days which whole purpose is simple to relax and switch off. You don’t have to achieve things just because you feel you should.
Creating your own structure
Having said that, I found if I have too many days like this it can affect my mental health for the worse, because I can feel like I don’t have a sense of purpose. It can then take a lot of energy to simply get up or function. To avoid this, I always find it helpful to have some goals or plans for the holidays. These don’t have to be big activities. This might be people you want to spend more time with or find out more things that you don’t usually have the time for.
The summer holidays I look back on that I enjoyed the most are when I spent some time helping others and learning new skills. These weren’t in things people had told me to do, or expected me to, they were in things I was interested in. For example, I love reading, and one summer I spent a few hours a week volunteering at my local library because I wanted to share that with other children because it was important to me. Another year I got the chance to learn synchronised swimming and loved it and made new friends in the process.
Now I am not saying this is what you should be doing, but I’m saying follow the things you are curious about and find ways to help others and learn new skills.
Treat the summer like a time for you to find out who you are, what you like and what gives your life meaning. These things come from being proactive and getting out of the house and our normal spaces.
So, push yourself to do the things you want to or are interested in. You don’t have to do it alone either. Bring a friend if you are trying something new, or ask a parent or guardian to help you look in to how to do something you are interested in learning.
Need more support?
If you are struggling with your mental health over the summer holidays we offer Wellbeing check-ins with a trained volunteer to give you a space to talk things through. These are regular check-ins at a time to suit you.