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  • Writer's pictureHansika Khokhar

Navigating Summer Holidays: Managing Anxiety Amidst Routine Changes


Woman and man barbequeing at summer party

Summer holidays are often seen as a time for relaxation, adventure, and social gatherings. However, the shift in routine and increased social obligations can also bring about anxiety for many individuals. 


Summer Holidays: The Anxiety of Changing Routines


One of the primary sources of anxiety during the summer is the disruption of daily routines. For many, the structure provided by work or school helps maintain a sense of balance and purpose. When summer arrives, this routine often vanishes, leaving individuals with unstructured time that can lead to increased anxious thoughts. Without the usual distractions of work or school tasks, the mind can wander and fixate on worries, exacerbating feelings of anxiety.


Tips for Managing Routine Changes:


  • Maintain a Schedule: Try to create a flexible yet structured daily schedule. Include time for relaxation, hobbies, and exercise.


  • Set Goals: Establish small, achievable goals for each day or week to provide a sense of accomplishment and direction.


  • Stay Active: Physical activity can help reduce anxiety. Plan regular exercise or outdoor activities to keep both your body and mind engaged.



Travel, Sleep Issues, and Mental Health


Travel is more common in the summer months, and while exciting, it can also disrupt sleep patterns and contribute to anxiety. Changes in time zones, unfamiliar sleeping environments, and irregular schedules can all impact sleep quality, which in turn affects mental health.


Tips for Better Sleep While Traveling:


  • Stick to a Routine: try to maintain a consistent sleep schedule, even when traveling.


  • Hit the pavement: get out for a walk to see the sights: the more you tire out your body, the better you'll sleep.


  • Sun exposure: if you're travelling across time zones, make sure you expose yourself to sunlight in the morning to reset your circadian rhythm - your "sleep-wake" cycle.


  • Create a Restful Environment: Bring familiar items from home, such as a pillow or blanket, to make your sleeping environment more comfortable.


  • Limit Screen Time: Avoid screens before bedtime to promote better sleep quality.


Managing Anxiety at Social Gatherings


Summer is often filled with social events like barbecues, pool parties, and family reunions. While these gatherings can be enjoyable, they can also be overwhelming, especially for those with social anxiety. The pressure to socialize and interact with family members or acquaintances can heighten anxiety levels.


Tips for Managing Social Anxiety:


  • Set Boundaries: Give yourself permission to take breaks or decline invitations if you're feeling overwhelmed.


  • Practice Mindfulness: engage in mindfulness exercises such as using your 5 senses or deep breathing to stay grounded during social interactions.


  • Seek Support: Don't hesitate to reach out to a trusted friend or therapist if you need support navigating social situations.


  • Alcohol: try not to turn to alcohol to feel relaxed, as it can backfire, making you feel more anxious or down that day, or the next. It can also disrupt your sleep


Does the heat make your anxiety worse?


Hot weather can exacerbate anxiety symptoms. Higher temperatures can lead to physical discomforts such as sweating and shallow breathing, which can mimic anxiety symptoms and trigger a cycle of increased anxiety.



Tips for Staying Cool and Calm:


  • Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and help regulate your body temperature.


  • Find Cool Spaces: Spend time in air-conditioned environments or shaded areas to avoid overheating.


  • Dress Comfortably: Wear light, breathable clothing to stay cool and comfortable.



While summer is a time for fun and relaxation, it's also important to recognize and address the potential for increased anxiety due to changes in routine, social obligations, and hot weather. By maintaining a balanced schedule, managing sleep and travel effectively, setting boundaries for social gatherings, and staying cool, you can reduce anxiety and make the most of your summer holidays. Remember, it's all about finding a balance that works for you and taking proactive steps to care for your mental health.


If you're needing support with anxiety, we are here to help.


Book your intake appointment today to get matched with a clinician that is best suited to your needs.



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