The Importance of Summer Relaxation: 5 Ways to De-Stress

Ahh, summer. While heartbreaking at times, a three-month haitus from your college town can be good for the soul. No full course loads, endless warm weather, and infinite free time are promised to us once we break through the soul-crushing period known as finals week. A three month vacation by the pool or on the beach in some foreign country lays in store for some come late May.  For others, summer means multiple jobs, an internship, volunteer work, or summer classes (and maybe even a combination of these - eek!). Very easily, summer can transition from lazy poolside days into hectic schedules reminiscent of that ever-so-dreaded mid-semester rush. If you're anything like me, you've experienced some stress this summer. This can take multiple forms: Am I balancing my work with time with family and friends? How will I make it through this summer class? What if I'm too bored this summer, while everyone else is super busy?

Friends, summer shouldn't have to be this way! As much as it stinks right now to be away from your home (under the Dome), please please please take the time to appreciate this vacation. We aren't taking 17 credits! There aren't multiple professors breathing down our necks about papers! No 8 AM classes that require a walk through a blizzard! Keeping this in mind, I've provided you with some very easy ways to de-stress this summer and take a break from all the worry.  Now breathe in, and breathe out.

1) Yoga

This is my favorite tip for several reasons. First, literally anyone can try yoga without previous experience. Chances are your gym has classes for varying skill levels (or you could try YouTube!), which means you can still get some practice in without feeling super intimidated by the double-jointed contortionists taking the inversion class next door. In my opinion, yoga should be mandatory. It strengthens your spine, which helps improve posture. The poses are designed to increase circulation throughout your body. The flow of yoga also teaches breathing techniques to relax the mind. If you've never tried it, I seriously recommend it; even if you haven't been able to touch your toes since 4th grade gymnastics, you will still walk out of the session feeling relaxed and at peace. Namaste.

2) Take a hike!

I mean this literally: hit the trails and get your blood pumping. If not for the exercise, do it for the awesome scenery. Taking in your surroundings from a different point of view can certainly help put things in perspective. That U.S. History summer course you're taking can't seem thaaat bad when you're taking in a mountain view from high altitude.

3) Sleep in.

This is especially important if you work a lot during the week. I know I should be getting more than 7 hours a night, but can never seem to fit it all in. This is where my Saturday mornings come into play - don't bother me until after 10AM. Sometimes, sleeping in on your weekends and not worrying about duties that need to be fulfilled is immensely gratifying.

4) Explore your surroundings.

Whether you've moved back in with the rents, are flying solo in a high-rise apartment, or doing service work in a remote village, it's important to change your perspective from time to time. Take a different commute to work, even if it tacks on more time. Spend an afternoon exploring the unknown pockets of the city you now call home. Take a bike ride through the village you are doing an ISSLP in. Even if you're staying in the Bend this summer, get off campus! Go see the dunes in Michigan or see how many Steak 'n' Shakes you can find in a 20 mile radius. Anything you can do to change your surroundings and explore your everyday routine from a different point of view is worth it.


For those of you that have already heeded this advice - kudos! To those that haven't, listen to me now. Netflix, while dangerous to binge-watch, is the perfect escape from your summer worries. Make sure to treat yourself to a few episodes a week, but be careful not to overdo it and stay up until 3AM crying over a tub of ice cream while watching a Nicholas Sparks movie. Not that anyone here knows what that's like...


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