The Myth of the Carefree Summer

The Myth of the Carefree Summer

The Myth of the Carefree Summer

The Myth of the Carefree Summer

Embracing a Meaningful Summer on Your Own Terms

As the days grow longer and the temperatures rise, the idea of a carefree summer often looms large in our minds. We envision a season of relaxation, fun, and freedom from the stressors of the rest of the year. However, the reality of summer can often be quite different. In many ways, summer can be just as busy and stressful, if not more so, than other times of the year. At ADAA, we want to shed light on this myth and offer practical tips to help you create a meaningful, engaged summer on your own terms.

The Reality of Summer Stress

  1. Lack of Structure: While the absence of school and regular routines can be liberating, it can also lead to a lack of structure that many find unsettling. The predictable schedules of the school year provide a framework that helps manage time and activities efficiently. In contrast, summer’s open-endedness can create a sense of chaos.
  2. Changes in Schedules: Vacations, summer camps, and varying work hours can disrupt daily routines. Adjusting to these changes can be stressful, particularly for those who thrive on consistency.
  3. Fear of Missing Out (FOMO): Social media often portrays an idealized version of summer, filled with picturesque vacations and endless fun. This can create a sense of inadequacy and pressure, leading to anxiety about not making the most of the season.
  4. Sleep Pattern Disruptions: Longer daylight hours and the temptation to stay up late can interfere with sleep routines. Poor sleep quality can exacerbate stress and anxiety.
  5. Body Image Issues: Bathing suit season can trigger body image concerns and self-consciousness, detracting from the enjoyment of summer activities.
  6. Relaxation-Induced Anxiety: The expectation to relax and have fun can paradoxically lead to anxiety. The pressure to feel relaxed at the beach or on vacation can make it difficult to actually unwind, creating a cycle of stress.

It’s important to note that these feelings are common. Studies have shown that anxiety and depression rates can increase by up to 25% during holiday periods, including summer. This is a reminder that if you’re struggling, you are not alone.

Embracing a Meaningful Summer

Instead of striving for the elusive “best summer ever,” focus on creating a meaningful, enriched, and engaged summer experience. Here are my top 10 tips to help you live your summer to the fullest on your own terms:

Top 10 Tips for a Fulfilling Summer
  1. Set Realistic Expectations: Acknowledge that not every moment will be perfect. Aim for meaningful experiences rather than perfection.
  2. Create a Flexible Routine: Establish a loose structure to your days to provide a sense of stability while allowing for spontaneity.
  3. Limit Social Media: Reduce time spent on social media to avoid comparisons and FOMO. Focus on your own experiences instead.
  4. Prioritize Sleep: Maintain a consistent sleep schedule to support your mental and physical well-being.
  5. Practice Body Positivity: Embrace your body and focus on how it allows you to enjoy summer activities rather than how it looks.
  6. Engage in Mindful Activities: Incorporate mindfulness practices such as yoga, meditation, or simply being present in the moment.
  7. Plan Meaningful Activities: Choose activities that align with your values and interests, whether it’s spending time with loved ones, pursuing a hobby, or volunteering.
  8. Set Boundaries: Learn to say no to activities that do not serve your well-being. Prioritize what truly matters to you.
  9. Stay Active: Physical activity can boost mood and reduce stress. Find enjoyable ways to stay active, whether it’s swimming, hiking, or playing sports.
  10. Seek Support: If summer stress becomes overwhelming, don’t hesitate to reach out for professional support. Talking to a therapist can provide valuable coping strategies.

By letting go of the pressure to have a perfect summer and focusing on what brings you joy and fulfillment, you can create a summer that is genuinely enriching. Remember, the best summer is one that feels right for you.

Learn more about ADAA’s Find Your Therapist.

ADAA Blog Content and Blog Comments Policy

ADAA provides this Website blogs for the benefit of its members and the public. The content, view and opinions published in Blogs written by our personnel or contributors – or from links or posts on the Website from other sources – belong solely to their respective authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of ADAA, its members, management or employees. Any comments or opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors only. Please remember that the open and real-time nature of the comments posted to these venues makes it is impossible for ADAA to confirm the validity of any content posted, and though we reserve the right to review and edit or delete any such comment, we do not guarantee that we will monitor or review it. As such, we are not responsible for any messages posted or the consequences of following any advice offered within such posts. If you find any posts in these posts/comments to be offensive, inaccurate or objectionable, please contact us via email at [email protected] and reference the relevant content. If we determine that removal of a post or posts is necessary, we will make reasonable efforts to do so in a timely manner.

ADAA expressly disclaims responsibility for and liabilities resulting from, any information or communications from and between users of ADAA’s blog post commenting features. Users acknowledge and agree that they may be individually liable for anything they communicate using ADAA’s blogs, including but not limited to defamatory, discriminatory, false or unauthorized information. Users are cautioned that they are responsible for complying with the requirements of applicable copyright and trademark laws and regulations. By submitting a response, comment or content, you agree that such submission is non-confidential for all purposes. Any submission to this Website will be deemed and remain the property of ADAA.

The ADAA blogs are forums for individuals to share their opinions, experiences and thoughts related to mental illness. ADAA wants to ensure the integrity of this service and therefore, use of this service is limited to participants who agree to adhere to the following guidelines:

1. Refrain from transmitting any message, information, data, or text that is unlawful, threatening, abusive, harassing, defamatory, vulgar, obscene, that may be invasive of another ‘s privacy, hateful, or bashing communications – especially those aimed at gender, race, color, sexual orientation, national origin, religious views or disability.

Please note that there is a review process whereby all comments posted to blog posts and webinars are reviewed by ADAA staff to determine appropriateness before comments are posted. ADAA reserves the right to remove or edit a post containing offensive material as defined by ADAA.

ADAA reserves the right to remove or edit posts that contain explicit, obscene, offensive, or vulgar language. Similarly, posts that contain any graphic files will be removed immediately upon notice.

2. Refrain from posting or transmitting any unsolicited, promotional materials, “junk mail,” “spam,” “chain mail,” “pyramid schemes” or any other form of solicitation. ADAA reserves the right to delete these posts immediately upon notice.

3. ADAA invites and encourages a healthy exchange of opinions. If you disagree with a participant ‘s post or opinion and wish to challenge it, do so with respect. The real objective of the ADAA blog post commenting function is to promote discussion and understanding, not to convince others that your opinion is “right.” Name calling, insults, and personal attacks are not appropriate and will not be tolerated. ADAA will remove these posts immediately upon notice.

4. ADAA promotes privacy and encourages participants to keep personal information such as address and telephone number from being posted. Similarly, do not ask for personal information from other participants. Any comments that ask for telephone, address, e-mail, surveys and research studies will not be approved for posting.

5. Participants should be aware that the opinions, beliefs and statements on blog posts do not necessarily represent the opinions and beliefs of ADAA. Participants also agree that ADAA is not to be held liable for any loss or injury caused, in whole or in part, by sponsorship of blog post commenting. Participants also agree that ADAA reserves the right to report any suspicions of harm to self or others as evidenced by participant posts.


Evidence-based Tips & Strategies from our Member Experts


Block reference

Take Action

Find Help. Learn More. Support ADAA.

Written by lisebram

What do you think?


Order of Canada Recipient & Daughter Share Clinical Interests, Career Paths and ADAA Benefits: In Conversation with ADAA Members Gordon Asmundson, PhD and Aleiia Asmundson, BA


Why Anxiety Can Present Itself As Nausea—Plus the Ingredients an RD Says Can Help When It Happens

Back to Top

Log In

Forgot password?

Forgot password?

Enter your account data and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Your password reset link appears to be invalid or expired.

Log in

Privacy Policy

To use social login you have to agree with the storage and handling of your data by this website. %privacy_policy%

Add to Collection

No Collections

Here you'll find all collections you've created before.