Taking Care of Our Mental Health During the Summertime

I don’t know about y’all, but I feel like this summer is flying by. Even though this is what happens almost every summer of my life, the strangeness of the summers of 2020 and 2021 have made this summer feel very foreign and unlike any other one I’ve experienced. It’s been years since I’ve been this busy, and expending that amount of social energy is taxing. It’s this dichotomy that I want to explore today – how do we take care of our mental health when time is flying by and we’re constantly on the go?

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I Took Time Off And It Felt So Good

I’ll be honest – it wasn’t my plan to not write a post last week. I’d had a few things planned but never hit the button to schedule them, so they didn’t happen. But for the first time in a long time, I took a vacation where I was totally, completely and 100 percent offline for a whole work week. And let me tell you…it was wonderful. And I’m writing to you today not to advocate for vacation (which I think you already know is great), but to make the point that actually being offline – whether that’s personally, professionally, etc. – is something that’s sorely needed every once in a while for our mental health.

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The Importance of Taking Time Off

We’re in peak summer time here in the United States, which means beautiful sunny weather, sometimes scorching temperature, and figuring out the age-old question of going on vacation. This would be a good time to post about why vacations are important for wellness, but since the logistics of going on vacation are still pretty difficult (worldwide pandemic and all), I decided to go even broader with my message. Even if we can’t get away this summer, it’s still important to take time off. Whether it’s from work, school, the lifestyle of a grinding entrepreneur, etc. there are many benefits from taking time off to relax and restore your wellness. Here’s why!

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Improving On My Post-Vacation Blues

Sometime last year, I wrote about the post-vacation blues. I’d just gotten home from a trip to Texas and even though I go there every year (sometimes more than one), I was particularly down. Fast forward to this week: I once again visited Texas, and when I returned from my trip I felt a little bummed out. There were two key differences here, though. The first difference is that I was in Texas for my twin brother’s bachelor party (!!!), which of course is something I’ve waited my entire life for (being a twin). The second difference is that this time, while I am a little bummed out, it didn’t hit me as hard this week as it did then. And I’d like to expand on that second difference.

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The Post-Vacation Blues

I am currently plodding through work, wading through the vast amount of things I need to catch up on, and I’m fighting the post-vacation blues. I visited family in Texas over the Memorial Day weekend holiday and had a great time! As is typical with short vacations like this, I didn’t feel like I had enough time, but I really enjoyed seeing everyone being able to soak up the beginning of summer. Continue reading

A Vacation from My Mind

A few months ago, I went on vacation. Or at least, I thought I did. I wasn’t at work, I didn’t have a set schedule, and I was sleeping in (well, as much as I could). But did I feel on vacation? From what I understand about vacations, it didn’t really line up.

On vacations, you’re not supposed to be stressed out. You’re not supposed to be worried about things, back home or otherwise. Vacation is a break from all of that.

But I was stressed, anxious and yes – depressed. Though I still had an incredible time on my vacation and enjoyed myself immensely, I didn’t have a break from one thing that I had really hoped I could take a break from – my mind.

Imagine being trapped somewhere you don’t like. No, I won’t paint this imaginary place as the worst place on Earth. But let’s say you don’t like it very much and would rather be elsewhere. Now it’s easy enough to get up and leave – in fact, that would be my first piece of advice to you. But what do you do if you can’t?

If you have a mental illness, you’re all too familiar with this imaginary place. It means different things for different people but for me, it’s my head. There are days – plenty of days – where I wish I could take a vacation from the thoughts in my head. The song “Migraine” by Twenty One Pilots is something I think of often when I can’t take that vacation: am I the only one I know, waging my wars behind my face and above my throat (I really like Twenty One Pilots. I’ll have to write about them one day!).

How do I combat it? I choose to stay busy. Whether it’s working on this blog or doing some other type of work, writing keeps me very busy and my mind very active. So I do that a lot (arguably too much, but that’s another story). When I’m not busy is when things can become frustrating and often, quite sad. I mean actual sad, not pathetic sad. I long to one day take a vacation from the negative self-talk, and constant anxiety, but I also know that I am fortunate in that I know how to fight against this – though it took years to learn.

If you’re like me and can’t really take a vacation from the thoughts in your head, don’t worry, you definitely aren’t alone. If you can do that, let me know what it’s like, because I’m curious about the experience!

_We are only as blind as we want to be._.png