10 Ways to Break Out of Your Summer Slump

Twenty20


Twenty20

By Paula Kashtan

Summer is arguably the most laid-back time of year. Kids are out of school, and there's less incentive to rush. Not only that, but screen time can inch upwards, as well as extra snacking. Because of that, it can sometimes be a bit of a jolt when parents are suddenly tasked with re-boarding the back-to-school train. Here are 10 ways to get inspired and break out of the summer slump.

  • Wake Up Earlier

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    The world is just different in the early hours. If you haven’t been up and out of your house before 7 a.m. lately, give it a shot for a few days. See if you notice a sense of optimism and possibility in the air. There are also internal benefits to kicking the habit of sleeping in. Studies have shown that waking up earlier helps people be more focused, productive, optimistic, and healthy.

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  • Go to Bed Earlier

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    Getting enough sleep is incredibly important for your mental and physical health. Now that you’re waking up earlier, it’s in your best interest to start going to bed earlier as well. Not only will it be easier to get up in the morning when your alarm goes off, but the quality of sleep you get will also be better. You’ll be trading dark nighttime hours for brighter morning hours, too, which serves as a huge mood booster.

  • Journal

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    Taking a little bit of time to reflect at the end of the day can have a major impact on the way you feel. We’re not talking about the “Dear Diary” situation from your teenage years -- rather, a 10- or 15-minute stream of consciousness about whatever’s in your brain before you go to sleep at night. Writing in this way helps bring you into the present, and can boost your emotional intelligence, memory, and comprehension skills.

  • Get Inspired

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    Inspiration is important, no matter where it comes from. Take some time to get in touch with what drives you, whether that’s art, nature, family, or something else entirely. If you aren’t quite sure what’s truly inspiring to you, do some research. Talk to new people, go to new places, and learn some new things. See what makes you feel interested and excited, and then figure out a way to integrate it into your life more regularly going forward.

  • Eat Feel-Good Foods

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    The foods we eat affect just about every aspect of how we feel, both physically and mentally. Try adding in a few foods that have been shown to provide a happiness boost. Protein-packed quinoa is a great substitute for rice and pasta, while mushrooms are another mood booster, thanks to all of their vitamin D. Foods with fermented dairy, such as kefir and yogurt, are full of probiotics, which calm the body and improve gut health. The best news, of course, is about dark chocolate: It raises endorphin levels, which can ease feelings of stress. Go for a variety that’s at least 70% cacao.

  • Get Moving

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    Whether your preferred physical activity is some outdoor cardio, group classes at a gym, or a pickup ballgame at the nearest field, try to do a little bit more of it. Moving your body has tons of benefits. In addition to all the ways it’s good for your physical health, it can also boost your mood and energy, help you sleep better, and even improve your sex life. Make sure you find something that you actually enjoy -- exercise should be something you look forward to, not something that you dread.

  • Skip Social Media

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    Consider spending a few weeks or a month detoxing from social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. This can help in a few ways. First, it’ll remove the pressure to publicly document your thoughts and experiences, and leave you more time to actually be present in and enjoy your life. And even if you don’t regularly post about your own life, getting off the apps will keep you out of the comparison trap that’s so easy to fall into when you’re scrolling through the carefully curated stories of other people’s lives.

  • Reach Out to an Old Friend

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    Even if your contact list is full of friends and family, keeping up with all (or even most) of them is often a challenge. Co-workers tend to get the most of our attention, whether or not they’re the people we’d choose to spend our time with. Switch things up by scrolling through your contacts, picking out someone who you haven’t talked to in awhile but thoroughly enjoy, and reach out to them. Whether through a phone call or coffee date, spending time with someone you haven’t connected with in awhile is sure to have a positive impact.

  • Meditate

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    Mindfulness” has certainly become a buzzword, but don’t let that distract you from its myriad benefits. Meditating, even for just a few minutes a day, is a great way to control stress and anxiety while also promoting self-awareness and emotional balance. Try not to get too caught up in doing it “right,” and just focus on incorporating it as a continuous practice. Start yourself off with a short guided meditation, which you can search for on YouTube.

  • Set a Goal

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    No matter how many big ideas and long-term goals we have, the busyness of day-to-day life can make it hard to focus on anything beyond our immediate to-do list. Getting away from the daily grind is important to staying excited about life and the future, though, so it’s worth your while to spend a little bit of time thinking about what truly gets your heart pumping and figuring out a way to take small steps toward it in your regular life. Think of it as your very own passion project.

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