Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Coping with the Stress of Summer?’

by Sophie Whitehead

Its June. The first glance of the untypically British sun (an unknown phenomenon for the most of the year) finally (very slightly of course) pokes its head out and immediatelyits BBQ time! Records show that the most commonly used BBQ meats; chicken, beef burgers, sausages peak to their highest point in the early June times which can be only put down to the classic Brit, fed up with their Sunday roast and frosty nights, dying to embrace the more al fresco way of living and copying a dining style from our Mediterranean friends across the sea. Spirits soar, the hair garland makes a reappearance from the wardrobe (where it was stuffed after last year's Reading Festival) and it's suddenly time for the soul to relax and the fun to begin. The mind is so clogged with facts and figures, largely stored up for a big exam at the end of the year, it is dying for a break and the two months off can be seen as a sought after hero in disguise for eradicating that tired feeling and preparing for the new year.

However. There has always got to be a however. For many, this sudden weight of relief to know you have a specified time off school, college, work - wherever you may be - can be an unforeseen burden in itself. How do I make sure I spend it right? To go from having no time to, in many cases, what can be seen as too much time can lead to a very stressful scenario. 

Never before in the year have you had to ask yourself what shall I do? because it has always been answered for you by the list of emails that need to be answered by an hour ago, the stack of assignments that need to be completed or even the lack of sleep that you are desperately trying to recover. Until now. An ironic paradox begins to form which sees a small part of yourself begging for the hectic schedule you had around the December/Christmas period and longing for a sense of the mind-numbingly boring monotony of day-to-day life - because at least its a plan; an organised ritual that can be completed without too much brain work. When summer raises its lazy head it brings with it a host of promises that cannot always be completed. So where to start? How to ensure that the summer of 2K15 is the best it can possibly be?

*    Try and plan a little ahead of time so you have things to look forward to so that the two months off dont fizzle by unnoticed. An event will break up the time, allow you to gather your bearings and ensure you have great memories to cherish for the rest of the year.

*    Be chilled. Not everything will go to plan. Dont feel the large expanse of time as a burden but rather embrace every little opportunity that is presented to you. A Yes man (or woman) is largely much more exciting than one who constantly turns down things afraid of what the outcome could be.

*    Never too many memories! Never too many pictures! Even if everything you snap is completely rubbish when later reviewed you can smile at the frame-freezed event you captured.

*    Obviously everyones summer will be different. Some want to volunteer and travel to places they haven't had the chance to throughout the year. Some prefer a more casual beach trip or simply catching up with an old friend while others take up a new hobby or get a job to help fund the next year of fun. Dont define a successful summer by anything than your own standards. It doesn't matter if a friend went to Barbados and swam with turtles, if you did something you love then why does it matter? And yes that sounds ridiculously cliched and overused, but the bottom line is that summer is when you can try out new things and not be judged for it. You can finally release those pressures that haunt throughout the year and just live a little. As the Spanish say live la vida loca.

Here are my top tips:

*    Do one thing useful. Make something count. Although all the little things and all the fun accumulates and is of course what will be remembered; in the long term if you can do just one thing which youre proud of or makes you think Did I really do that? (no matter how small) then you can mentally tick one goal off your to-do list even if its while youre blissfully unaware its happening.

It goes without saying but the most important thing, above all, is just to have fun. The bottom line is no one can define success but you! Although Summer can seem a much larger period of free time than youve had all year round it goes ridiculously quickly and, looking back, I know for sure, there have been times when Ive felt its been wasted. But what Ive realised is: no time can never be truly wasted. If you dont achieve something one day then achieve it the next. If you forget to thank someone one day, then go back and thank them the next. If you dont pursue something you love because youre worried about the risks one day, then pursue it the next day. Dont let this summer be one of any regrets, of course things will go wrong (for me they always do!) but who cares? Everything can be fixed and if not then everything has a way of working itself out. Were young and the world really is our oyster so let's enjoy this summer because weve sure as anything worked hard enough for it. 

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