Staying Well in the Summer Holidays

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Some young people look forward to the summer holidays, waiting for the chance to take a break from work, spend time with friends, and enjoy fun activities. However, this isn’t the case for everyone. Many teenagers and adolescents struggle with a lack of routine and distance from their usual support systems while others have to navigate difficult environments at home.

It’s important for young people to look after their mental health during the summer and, when needed, seek support from family members and others around them. This blog provides some tips on self-care during the school break, as well as ideas for activities that can help young people structure their days and prevent feelings of boredom.

Understanding Self-Care

The term self-care often brings up images of bubble baths, meditation, or candle-lit evenings. However, that’s not all it’s about. Self-care looks a bit different for every person and often involves simple, everyday actions.

At its core, self-care is about looking after our own mental health. It involves listening to what your mind and body need and taking the time to do those things. Self-care isn’t a substitute for support from friends, family, or professionals – but it is an important part of staying well. Caring for yourself is a way of recognising your self-worth and understanding that you deserve to feel well too.

There are lots of different ways that young people can practice self-care. What constitutes self-care can change a lot depending on a young person’s mental health, personality, needs, and environment. In difficult times, self-care might mean fulfilling their basic needs by getting enough sleep and trying to eat well. At other times, self-care can involve doing activities that make them feel good or taking a break when things are too much. Self-care is about listening to what they need, not what others need from them.

Some examples of self-care include:

  • things that relax the body, like baths or moisturisers
  • yoga, meditation podcasts, soothing music, or creative activities
  • walking, sports, or other kinds of exercise
  • going to bed early and eating regular meals
  • spending time with friends and family
  • reaching out to others for support
  • setting boundaries with friends or family to take time for themselves
  • taking a break from work or studying
  • positive self-talk

Parents, guardians, teachers, and other figures can support young people to practice self-care. This might involve having a conversation about what self-care means or reassuring them that it’s important to take time for themselves. It could be as simple as listening to what a young person needs and seeing what you can do to support them.

Spending Time During the Holidays

Research has found that on average, young people’s mental health worsens during the summer holidays. There are many different reasons this can happen, such as distance from friends or lack of routine. Some young people may be affected by boredom, a feeling that many adolescents experience.

For young people anticipating or struggling with free time in the summer holidays, it can help to plan activities that ease boredom, provide some kind of routine, or help them to stay connected with others. We’ve listed some ideas below.

Green Spaces

Local green spaces, such as parks or rivers, are accessible places where young people can relax or meet up with others. For many teenagers and adolescents, spending time close to nature is a form of self-care, helping to ease stress and anxiety. Some spaces also hold activities during the summer holidays, like team sports, running, or nature trails.

Volunteering

Some young people struggle with a lack of routine and structure during the holidays. Unstructured days can make mental health issues more difficult to manage, leaving more space for negative thinking and destructive spirals.

Volunteering with charities or other groups can provide young people with a daily routine and help prevent boredom. Volunteering is also a great way to make new friends, develop skills, and build a sense of community.

Writing and Creative Outlets

Creative outlets like writing, drawing, or cooking can help young people to enjoy summer days and express their emotions. Young people might want to start a creative project that lasts the summer, like making a zine or learning to paint. They could also be creative collectively, making music with others or writing a play.

Reaching Out for Support

Many young people rely on friends or teachers for emotional and psychological support. During the holidays, some young people find themselves further away from these support systems and may not know who they can speak to about difficult emotions, thoughts, or experiences.

While it can be difficult for young people to cope with distance from people they trust and rely on, it’s important that they reach out for support when they need it. In some cases, it’s helpful to stay in touch with friends by phone or arrange to meet up during the holidays. Where this isn’t possible, young people could speak to family members or speak with mental health charities online or by phone. GPs, teachers, social workers, and other professionals can put them in touch with support services for young people in the local area.

The Wave Clinic – Specialist Mental Health Support for Young People

The Wave Clinic offers transformative recovery programs that support young people to plan and build fulfilling futures. Our experienced team includes experts in teenage and adolescent mental health from all over the world, collectively providing exceptional clinical care to each individual. Through our seven core elements of treatment, we combine medical and psychological support with education, social responsibility, explorations, and a gap year experience to help young people reconnect with their love of life and develop the skills they need to thrive.

Inclusivity, acceptance, and fairness lie at the heart of our philosophy. We strive to provide every young person with the mental health support they need to overcome the barriers they face and follow their dreams, regardless of their presenting issues. We’re determined to make a difference in the lives of young people and set the standard for adolescent mental health support worldwide.

If you have any questions about our programs or would like to start the admissions process, reach out to us today. We’re here for you.

Fiona - The Wave Clinic

Fiona Yassin is the founder and clinical director at The Wave Clinic. She is a U.K. and International registered Psychotherapist and Accredited Clinical Supervisor (U.K. and UNCG).

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