Written by Katie Jackson-Griffin, LCPC

The sun has finally made its return and we’re starting to feel the temperatures rise.

This time of year, we experience increased energy and more opportunities to spend time outside. With Chicago’s harsh winters and often unpredictable springs and falls, many of us feel the pressure to get the most out of the short-lived Summer.

Summertime FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) has begun!

We want to take advantage of all this amazing city has to offer.  But that can leave us drained, overwhelmed, and anxious about how we’re going to spend our days. Here are four ways to help you find the balance between making the most of your summer while avoiding burnout.

1. Keep up With Your Routines

Summer gives us opportunities to have fun and try new things! It’s great to take advantage of these opportunities, but don’t forget to do what works well when it comes to taking care of yourself. This may include things like meal planning, exercising, and spending some time alone.

You don’t want to miss out since this weather is only here for a short time, but you’re not a different person now that the sun is out. You still need your routines to feel your healthiest and happiest. Sometimes that means saying no to that rooftop happy hour invite so you can go to your yoga class or stay in to catch up on your favorite shows.

2. Schedule Priorities

At the beginning of summer, I like to schedule priorities when it comes to activities. I consider what my options are and decide which are most important to me. For me, this includes going out on a sailboat, attending the Blues Fest downtown, or spending at least two days a month at the lake.

Scheduling priorities with fun things planned help to reduce the anxiety of FOMO. In addition, it prepares you to acknowledge you won’t be able to do everything you want this summer. That’s OK! There’s always next summer

3. Listen to Your Body

It’s OK to stay inside even during nice weather. Sometimes we think this makes us lazy or that we aren’t taking advantage of the sunshine while we have it. Listening to what your body is telling you can be so helpful!

Rest and stay inside. Take a break from socializing to recharge. Catching up on sleep and rest is important. You don’t have to be “productive” and “social” all the time. Some good mantras about “it’s OK to rest” can help to allow your body and brain the time they need to reset.

4. Know When to Ask for Help

It’s important to recognize when you may be experiencing something more than just FOMO. Feeling hopeless or noticing changes in energy levels? Have your moods persisted for longer than a few weeks?

While it can be helpful to reach out to friends or family for encouragement,  sometimes you may need professional help from an unbiased and trained clinician. It can be difficult to take the first step and acknowledge your feelings may be more overwhelming than you can manage by yourself. Luckily, there are many caring mental health professionals who can help you feel more like yourself again. It’s OK to not be OK. It’s OK to get the help you need.

Finally, try not to compare yourself to others and their summer activities. If you see someone post on Facebook that they are on a trip to Italy, don’t feel as though your summer and activities are not “like theirs”. How you spend your summer is unique and equally important, just different!

What helps you avoid summertime burnout? Leave a comment below; we’d love to hear your suggestions!