This year has unfortunately, for most, been exceptionally difficult. It was our first full academic year operating in a pandemic. We got through another emotionally-taxing campaign season and election. Violence worsened among many communities, mental health took a major hit and international politics intensified the global mood.
Wow. Writing all that, I’m a little stunned. Did we … actually do that? Boy oh boy.
But here’s the thing—we DID! We somehow woke up every day and powered through. I’m really proud of all of us for that.
And now that the year is finally, finally, FINALLY over, I’m ending it with a breezy lil article about some things that you deserve to do this summer (especially appropriate in light of May being Mental Health Awareness Month!).
Genuinely. Genuinely, I hope that you have even just a handful of days where you can sleep in, stay up late or go to bed insanely early, take naps, lounge around and do whatever your heart genuinely desires. After the year we’ve had, it’s been hard to take a step back and settle into a moment for ourselves. This summer, you deserve pajamas until late afternoon (or all day), staying in bed as long as possible and casually catching some rays whenever you feel so inspired. You deserve a break.
2. Watch something calming
Sometimes we get so caught up in the media and constant streams of depressing news that it’s odd to consume something that isn’t horrifying. However, that oddness can be (and probably will be) legitimately refreshing and healing. If you’re looking for some TV shows to take your mind off the general state of the world, I would recommend Broad City on Hulu, Community on Netflix and Steven Universe on HBO Max. If you’re hoping to snuggle up and movie-marathon it out, check out The Mitchells vs the Machines on Netflix, The Family Stone on Hulu and Ponyo on HBO Max.
3. Read a book
I am definitely one of the probably millions guilty of not making enough time to read this past year. Now more than ever, it’s important for us to be making time to unwind, pick something up and learn a little or just lose ourselves in something else. If you need some inspiration, some of the titles on my reading list for this summer are The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer, Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera and Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner (the legend behind alt-indie band Japanese Breakfast!).
4. Listen to some tunes (and not-tunes)
Music has always been a great way to unwind, for me and so many others. Catch up on new releases from your old favorites, explore some similar artists or branch out a little bit! If you’re looking for recommendations, I’m always a huge plug for my fav, Sidney Gish, as well as Sufjan Stevens and Dr. Dog (or you can celebrate AAPI history month by checking out some great tunes by AAPI folks!). Beyond music, there are some great podcasts to become obsessed with for the summer—my favorites right now are Ologies with Alie Ward and Stuff You Should Know.
Go on a really long drive. Lay in your backyard. Mediate. Walk. Hold the silence. Breathe. You deserve a pause and a moment of peace (finally).