For many people, the final weeks of June signal one thing: the end of the school year. While the feelings associated with this will differ depending on whether you’re a student, a parent of a student, or someone who works in education, chances are you’re looking forward to two months of relaxing, unwinding, and taking time to decompress. But with all the hustle and bustle a full school year brings with it, you may have forgotten what it’s like to truly relax.
Below, we outline our top tips for de-stressing after a busy school year that'll leave you feeling refreshed, relaxed, and ready to enjoy summer.
Spend time with friends and family
Throughout the school year, schoolwork and other commitments can take top priority, meaning you may have to forego spending time with the people you care about. The people who bring us happiness tend to have the ability to lessen stress, and refocus on what’s most important in life. Laughing, going on adventures, and sharing stories with loved ones can help us feel restored, renewed, and refreshed.
Read for fun
Whether you were studying from textbooks, teaching from textbooks, or trying to get your kids to simply pick up a textbook, the school year can induce some negative connotations re: reading. But reading for pleasure can be a great way to relax. Light fictional reads can help you escape the daily grind, while non-fiction books allow you to learn more about topics you are (actually) interested in, and can even help you learn a new skill. Keep the television off and the phones away, and curl up with a good read to really help yourself unwind and relax.
Whether we like it or not, education in today’s world heavily depends on technology—from writing papers on laptops, to looking up materials on the Internet, to messaging friends asking for homework help. While this certainly has its benefits, constantly checking our phones and computers can make it difficult to be present in and enjoy the moment. It also causes our minds to be constantly processing new information, which can make it difficult to unwind and decompress. Start slow with unplugging—turn off your phone and computer for just an hour a day and instead do something you love. Over time, your ‘unplugging sessions’ will grow in time, help to reduce stress, and will be something you look forward to each day!
Get out into nature
The environment that surrounds us has a massive impact on our stress levels and overall wellbeing. Escaping to nature—whether you’re hiking in the mountains, having a beach day, or even just walking around a local park—helps to reduce stress, anger, and fear while increasing pleasant feelings. Exposure to nature not only helps you to feel better emotionally, but it also contributes to your physical wellbeing, reducing blood pressure, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones. Plus, now that it’s summer, it’s so easy to get outside and enjoy all that Mother Nature has to offer.
At-home spa day
This one seems obvious, but how often do you really treat yourself to a spa treatment at home? Sometimes, a warm bath is all you need—add in some bubbles or relaxing essential oils (a blend of lavender, frankincense and bergamot are some of our favourites) to make it extra special and luxurious. Keep the spa party going post-bath and treat yourself to a refining face mask, a mani-pedi that leaves your hands and feet soft and radiant, or simply burn a candle you love and listen to your favourite album. The focus of your at-home spa day should be to mindfully take things slow, allow your mind and body to relax, and treat yourself for completing a challenging year.
If you’re still feeling a little uptight even after your at-home spa day, it might be wise to seek a professional. Human touch, in a context that is safe, friendly, and professional can be incredibly therapeutic and relaxing. Treatments like massages, reflexology, acupuncture, cupping and reiki can all cater to different needs and can be tailored to the individual to help reduce stress and encourage relaxation. Plus, they can help reduce the physical effects of prolonged stress and hours spent hunched over your textbooks, such as tight muscles in the neck and shoulders.
If you’re in Calgary, we have two treatment rooms in the back of our 4th Street store that offer amazing relaxation treatments. Erika at Roots2 is our resident pro for reflexology, cupping, and reiki, while Mary Anne of 1000 Butterflies specializes in Thai yoga table massage, reiki, chakra balancing and angel intuitive treatments.
Get out your yoga mat
When things get busy, it’s easy to convince ourselves that we don’t have time to exercise. With the school year being done, there’s no room left for excuses! Even if you move for 15 minutes a day, you’re allowing yourself some dedicated time for yourself. In particular, yoga has many benefits for the body and mind, including relaxation, calming effects, and it can improve your mood. The great thing about yoga, aside from the physical and mental benefits, is that you can easily tailor it to fit what you and your body needs. Exercise in general will also give you a natural endorphin boost, which can help with issues ranging from high stress to trouble falling asleep.
This is just a sampling of the different ways you can de-stress after the school year has come to and end. Our top suggestion? Just do what makes you feel happy and relaxed. Have any more suggestions that we haven’t covered? Let us know in the comments below!