What Really Matters—The Practical Side

Pools, cookouts, trips, good books, more time outside…what words come to mind when you think of summer? Based on our upbringing and experiences we all have our own ideas and expectations about what different seasons should look like–where we should go, who we should be with and what we should be doing.

For the past 3 months all of our expectations have been put on hold. Our regular lives and routines have been drastically altered as we try to stay healthy during this pandemic. We no longer go to the same places, do the same things or see many people. As summer approaches you may find yourself realizing that this disruption in how we live our lives may be status quo until at least the fall.

While restrictions are easing up in some places, many communities are still following precautions and “doing life” in modified ways. So what does this mean for summer? Summer is supposed to be filled with all of the things mentioned above—including summer camps for kids. So how do we navigate summer during a pandemic—not just logistically, but mentally and emotionally as well.

Here are some summer tips:

1) First, try to keep some sort of routine, but make it less strict. Have scheduled time for work and play. Make sure that you factor in some down time every day AND some alone time. If you have kids, they can have alone time each day as well—whether that is reading, drawing, napping or just spending time alone in their room.

2) Second, practice gratitude. Keep a gratitude journal and write down one thing each day you are grateful for. (Hint: challenge yourself not to repeat any entries). Kids can do this as well! Kids can also write letters to family members or essential workers expressing their gratitude.

3) Limit screens of all kinds and news consumption. Have set times to watch TV, surf the internet, etc. Limit news consumption as it can create feelings of anxiety/depression. Find other ways to fill the day. Play board games, make a new recipe each week, do a craft/project (paint something, do tie-dye with your kids, etc.).

4) Eat well and exercise daily—even if it is just a quick walk after dinner. Limit alcohol, sweets and fatty foods. Drink plenty of water.

5) BE CREATIVE! Deep clean your house, organize your pantry, go through your closet, master a new skill (knitting, watercolors, etc.), buy a kiddie pool or a slip and slide, let your kids make art out of recyclables. Think of ways to have fun that are free or inexpensive and do them.

6) Stay connected. Whether through Zoom, video chat, Face Time, Skype, etc., stay connected. Make “dates” with loved ones and stay connected to them.

If you are feeling anxious about summer or life in general, a licensed mental health counselor can provide the support and expertise you need to thrive during this uncertain time. Please contact Life Enhancement Counseling Services today at (407) 443-8862 to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced clinicians.


Yolanda Brailey