If your experience is anything like mine so far, the transition from school to home for the summer can be a little rough. Especially if you’ve just graduated. That’s a little more permanent of a transition, and it’s hard to imagine not soon returning to the place you’ve called home for the past four years.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t missing Anderson a lot right now. If I could spend one more summer with my best friends in our little white house on a hill, I would in a heartbeat.
But I’m here in good old Champaign Illinois, and I am grateful for the people and the places here, too. I don’t want to let my sadness over closing one chapter of my life distract me from the joys of opening this new one. And I am bound and determined to have a good summer.
So here are a few things I’m doing to help keep myself motivated, positive and joyful in the midst of a difficult season filled with change and grief. If you’re struggling with what to do with yourself all summer- away from the friends and places and routines that keep you grounded- maybe this will help you through your time home from your home-away-from-home.
- Always have something to look forward to.
After expressing to my friends how sad I was to leave them (one of many, many times) one of them told me that I need to always have something to look forward to, so I can be excited about what’s to come rather than upset about what I’ve now left behind. This could be something as big as a family vacation or as small as a lunch date with a friend.
The night I got home from school, I went out and bought a dry-erase calendar and hung it on my wall, so I can see everything I have to look forward to for the month, at least (pink is my “things to look forward to” color). When I woke up today feeling down, I said to myself look! Only one week until you see your friends again. And you have a lunch date tomorrow! You just have to make it through today. Always have something, no matter how big or small, that you’re excited about to keep yourself in a positive mindset.
- Set some short-term goals.
Accomplish something this summer. Again, it doesn’t have to be big. Set a few goals that you will be able to see noticeable progress made on over the next few months. This can help give your time at home some purpose, rather than just becoming a waiting period before getting back to “normal” life.
If you’re feeling bored or sad or unmotivated, look at your goals. When I feel these things, I can take my dogs on a walk, prayer journal or do something nice for myself like get a pedicure or lay by the pool and read. All of these things not only help pass the time, but also help me reach the specific goals I’ve set for myself.
- Make a summer to-do list.
Always have something to do. That way, when you wake up feeling down, you don’t turn on Netflix, sit on the couch and wake up five hours later wondering where the day went. When I get bored and have nothing to do, it’s easy for me to start sulking and pity-partying and wishing the days away. That’s not good!
Make a list of places you want to go, things you want to do and people you want to see. A lot of these things I can even do by myself. I can take my dogs to the state park. I can turn my mason jars into homemade candles. Shoot, I can even take myself to brunch. Having a list of things I want to do ready for when boredom strikes keeps me from sitting around and wishing I was somewhere I’m not. There is always something to do!
- Reach out to people.
I am a full-on introvert when it comes to making plans. I love shopping and lunch and pedicure dates for sure, but I’m not usually one to initiate them. I like to wait for people to reach out to me. But I knew when I got home that I needed more things to look forward to and a little more joy in my life, so I texted four friends and told them I’d love to get together soon. As silly as it sounds, that was kind of hard for me to do. One of those dear friends I hadn’t seen in almost a year. But now I have a Bachelorette Monday pal, and that’s something to look forward to every week for the rest of the summer!
Reach out to old friends and catch up a little. Reach out to a mentor, someone older and wiser, if you need some trusted guidance through this weird, confusing time in life. Reach out to a sibling, even, and try to spend more time with them than you normally would throughout the summer. Take the initiative to grow and deepen some relationships, and I think you’ll add a lot of joy to your life. It’s worth the risk!