Hi everyone! It’s hard to imagine that we’re pretty much done with the school year – can you believe it?? For everyone taking finals, good luck! You’ll do great! Now, welcome back to this year’s final edition of getting lit in the opinions section with Janvi. Today’s topic is something of a self-care guide for this summer, drawn from the experiences of yours truly as I head into my last high school summer vacation. Let’s get into it!
As teen movies and social media would have us believe, summer is a time of freedom and fun for three months straight. However, if you’re anything like me, the sudden advent of summer vacation may leave you with a pit in your stomach and the feeling of being bereft of the constant that is school.
Don’t make fun of me or anything, but sometimes I’ll wake up in a cold sweat at 7 a.m. in the middle of summer and think, “Oh my god! I’m gonna be late for school!”
Without the constant pressure that we all love to hate during the school year – and a lot more students feel this than you might think! – we may begin to stress about work that isn’t relevant or doesn’t even exist. I like to call this “phantom pressure,” y’know, like the feeling of a phantom limb that some amputees experience. Funny nickname notwithstanding, however, phantom pressure really puts a damper on my mood.
I hate stressing about work that isn’t even there, and yet I can’t help but feel that there’s something I should be doing that I’m not!
Here’s how I deal when the feeling gets really overwhelming: making a to-do list! Keeping track of and organizing all my “tasks” helps me stay in control of the things I have to and want to do.
List all of your real commitments and deadlines, but also write down every inane little thing you can think of. I also include all the books I want to read and movies I want to watch. Knocking things off the list one by one, even if they’re tiny in the grand scheme of things, helps me corral the anxious feeling of “not doing enough.”
Next, there’s this whole idea that summer is all about traveling to exotic places or visiting the beach every day, which is simply unrealistic.
Many of us don’t have the resources or capability to go on such trips, which is totally fine! And while you may sometimes feel disappointed that you’re unable to go on a million excursions, there’s no reason to let feelings of jealousy or bitterness overcome you.
Instead, take advantage of what you do have! It is summer, after all – get outside and run! Take a book and read it on a lawn chair.
If you have access to a pool or a YMCA, go for a swim! Go to a concert – the lowest priced tickets are usually pretty affordable for the XFinity Theater!
Sometimes when I begin to feel shut in, instead of fixing the problem, I respond by becoming even MORE of an angry recluse. Isn’t that gross?
That’s when I make myself go outside and take a short walk, which helps me feel better or if nothing else, helps me refocus and stop thinking so negatively of myself. And always keep in mind that each of us is on different paths in life and what’s happening in one point of your life is never going to match up exactly with another person’s life. Work with what you’ve got and thrive on your own time!
Finally, though this is super abstract, one thing I really want for all of us to do is to change. For the better, I mean. This doesn’t mean that you have to become a new person altogether, not by any measure.
What I’m saying is that if there’s any one thing you do over this summer, be kinder to yourself and others. Educate yourself on topics you’ve always wanted to learn about, whether academic or activism.
Start reflecting on the events of the past school year and think about what you can do differently come fall. Set boundaries and drink a lot of water and try your best to do better by yourself and others.
Growing as a person takes tons of time and a decent amount of effort, but summer is the perfect time for that! When you’re committed to learning about and helping yourself, you’ll come back ready to face whatever happens next.
So that’s it for this article/month/year. I hope everyone has their best, most fun and interesting summer yet. I can’t wait to see everyone this fall glowing from the inside out! Stay tuned for Janvi’s opinions in the 2018-19 school year, and until then, as always, stay woke.