Whether you are a freshman or a senior, a full load of classes and busy campus life can take their toll on anyone. That is why those carefree months of summer come at the perfect time. Some look forward to pure relaxation, while others have a productive summer of work, travel or other goals to fill their time.
But what no one expects is summer anxiety. Aren't those anxious feelings supposed to melt away once classes let out? Don't let the summer blues rob you of one day from your summer vacation.
Why Anxiety Hits College Students Over the Summer Months
Anxiety is a common occurrence among college students. All the pressure of meeting deadlines and getting good grades is enough to put anyone on edge. Even during the summer, though, feelings of anxiety or depression are common for college students. They are often referred to as the Summer Blues, and there are many reasons they hit so hard during these months of freedom:
- Impossibly Long List of Summer To-Do's: From traveling to completing some lofty goals, it is easy to try and cram too much into your summer schedule.
- Feeling Unmotivated: If you do have a long summer to-do list, then chances are you will not feel like doing it, and that can cause negative emotions to well up.
- Busy Summer Job: Maybe you were hoping for a relaxing summer, but a job or internship is taking all your free time and making you feel rundown.
- Change in Routine: After the end of a busy semester, it may take some time for your body to adjust to a slower pace, causing a little bit of stress.
- Expectations Back at Home: Once you experience the adult freedom of college life, it may be hard to adjust to things back at home, such as schedules or expectations.
- The Anticipation of Going Back to School: It is totally natural not to want to go back to school. We all relish our downtime, and you may feel stressed about the thought of returning to a busy class load.
- Reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder: Reverse seasonal affective disorder (Reverse SAD), is a more uncommon disorder that individuals can develop during the warm summer months which can cause insomnia, manic behavior and decreased appetite.
Fighting the Summer Blues
Summer is a time for relaxation and recuperation after a busy fall and spring semester. But the anxiety associated with the summer blues can rob you of what little downtime you have. If you are looking to beat those blues, here are some tips that college students have used to fight summer anxiety:
- Get Outside: Take a hike. Go to the beach. Have a morning jog. Visit a farmer's market. These are just a few examples of outdoor activities you can take advantage of this summer. Studies show that spending time outside or in nature increase feelings of serenity and happiness.
- Family Time: You will be headed back to school before you know it, so why not take advantage of the little time you have with your nearest and dearest. Declare a family game night or have dinner at the dining table together at least once a week. These are precious moments you will not forget.
- Pick One Thing to Do: Instead of filling your summer with an endless to-do list, try focusing on one thing. It could be a new hobby, like knitting or surfing, or traveling to a national landmark. Focusing on one item will free you up to enjoy that one thing to the fullest.
- Relax and Breathe: You are allowed to relax. Don't let summer guilt set in and tell you that you are being lazy. The key to a good summer is enjoying those chances to unwind. Even if you're busy working, find times to relax and just breathe.
If your summer blues are rooted in a deeper issue, we are here for you. Brookhaven Retreat offers a refuge for women of all ages struggling with anxiety or depression. Reach out to us to learn more.