During the era of COVID-19, many of us have faced the cancellation of summer plans that we have been looking forward to all year. It can be difficult to see vacations, camps, and visits with family be postponed indefinitely, but adopting a mindset that allows us to instead see this summer as an opportunity can not only help improve mental health, but allow us to not let this virus destroy the fun that we can have in our lives.
A summer at home gives a great opportunity to make new friends, and catch up with old ones (safely, of course). The proximity to home is something that many don’t experience during the summer months as some use the break as a time to travel, but this summer provides us with a chance we might not get again for a while. As our lives during the school year become swept away with extra-curriculars, homework, and sports practices, many barely get to see their friends in the first place. A study from the Journal of the National Medical Association found that people with insufficient social support were more likely to suffer from mental illnesses.1 Fostering connections with people that you may have never talked to before, and strengthening bonds with those close to you this summer can have a great impact on your mental health, and make the summer much more enjoyable.
This summer also provides the opportunity to explore wherever you live. As a Calgarian, exploring the city right now did not sound like the most exciting thing, but there are actually a lot of places that people never think to visit in their home towns that are very cool or interesting. In your free time this summer, take the opportunity to explore more of your city and discover a part of where you live that you have never been to before. If that’s not up your alley, cancelled vacation plans may open up an opportunity to find some work. The Canada Job Bank is a database filled with COVID-safe work opportunities for youth that may be looking to make some extra money right now. And finally, since the COVID-19 quarantines have started, people have been picking up new skills and exploring new hobbies. Don’t stop now! Keep up with your knitting, reading, and sourdough bread baking, or challenge yourself to learn a new skill during some of your free time.
Some people may be super excited about a summer filled with no plans, while others may feel anxious about the lack of structure in their schedules. No matter what, spend this time doing what makes you happy, and go out and create memories. You could look back at this summer and think of how horrible it was for you, or you could make the most out of it and turn it into one of the best summers ever. Take care of yourself, and stay safe.
1 “How Friendship Affects Your Physical & Mental Health.” MindWise, 25 Feb. 2019, www.mindwise.org/blog/mental-health/how-friendship-affects-your-physical-mental-health/.
Note: The Free Your Mind Mental Health Society is an independent youth-led organization. The contents of this blog are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. In the event of a medical emergency, please call your doctor or 911 or other local emergency numbers immediately.