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Written by Sarhadjine Malvoisin

The uncertainty of the past year causes many of us to experience hesitation about what is ahead for summer 2021. Many of us have become accustomed to practically barricading ourselves at home and avoiding close human contact. And because of the never-ending uncertainty about the COVID-19 virus, some of us are still wary of being out and about. NYC is set to officially reopen this month, which causes excitement for some to get back into the swing of things and looking forward to a ‘fun summer’, while some of us are unsure of where to begin and hesitant to return to business as usual. We share suggestions below on how to make the most of summer 2021 and enjoy it, despite hesitations about what is ahead.

Effects of the Pandemic in the Past Year

Given that the routine for most of us in past year has been staying in and going outside for bare minimum amounts of time, if at all, it is understandable that we may feel we have little control, since so much of last year was beyond our own power. That lack of control can increase our anxiety and push us into a comfort zone of staying inside and/or away from others.

We may lack motivation, lack energy, wrestle with worry, experience depression, feel irritable, or even isolate from the world. If that describes you and you find yourself experiencing any of these it may be time to do a quick check in and reevaluate.  2020 went by equally as fast and as slow; it seems. We are all scrambling to grieve our losses and manage our emotions. We are also struggling with the idea of being out and amongst others and really enjoying summer 2021 fully before it ends.

To help you have an enjoyable summer, below are some tips for getting prepared.

Tips for Managing Summer 2021

  • Take your time: As mentioned before, being back outside in full swing will be challenging, therefore if you do not find yourself ready or comfortable with being outside right away, be patient with yourself and go at your own pace.
  • Consider local spots, or short road trips. If you are concerned with going far, local spots can be a good idea; you will not only get a good break from the four walls of your room, but you may also discover new sights in your city or state. A change in scenery can be invigorating!
  • Reconnect with friends and/or family through some fun activities. This is the perfect time to safely reconnect with friends who you may not have seen over a year.
  • Limit outings to a few times a week. Adjust to your comfort level.
  • Be mindful of safety measures. Even though cities are reopening, and the infection numbers are down, we are still living amidst a pandemic.
  • Stay informed. Even though many have and will get vaccinated, if 2020 taught us anything is that things can change. The more informed we stay the better we can protect ourselves and our loved ones.

Outdoor Time If and When Possible

With that being said, we encourage you to spend time outdoors as much as you can. Research studies have found that time outdoors significantly improves both physical and mental health .

Natural sunlight:

  • Helps lessen pain. Being outdoors for at least twenty minutes can increase your energy (as much as a cup of coffee).
  • Boosts your immune system. Scientists believe that breathing in phytoncides (airborne chemicals produced by plants) increases our levels of white blood cells, which then helps us fight off infections and diseases.
  • Enhances creativity and helps with focus
  • Provides Vitamin D which is essential for the body’s well-being (Mental Floss, 2015)

The benefits of outdoor time is undeniable. So if at all possible, make time outside a goal you aim to attain. If you are having doubts about the upcoming summer, you are not alone, but know that you do not have to embrace returning to business as usual with full force right away. Your summer does not have to be filled with activities for it to be a good one, but make sure you are taking the time to listen to your body and understand its needs. Take it from there. Do not neglect your self-care (your mental, physical, and spiritual health care). We hope you have a great, safe, and healthy summer!

Let us know your thoughts. What are your plans for summer 2021? Are you looking forward to cities reopening? Join us as well in our upcoming Creative Expressions Night, and share anything you want to release about this year or past years.

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