This article was written on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ speaking xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) – People of the River Grass. I am incredibly grateful and privileged to be able to live and learn on this land.
It’s finally summer time! Classes are done and you can finally take some mental distance from school for a while. For many students, this transition means moving back home, perhaps nearby or far away depending on where home is for you. However, moving back home can be a difficult transition to make for some if you’re accustomed to living on your own for most of the year. Recently, I moved back home to spend the summer with my family in Surrey, BC. I’m finding it difficult to move away from being independent and feeling sufficient to being back in my home environment. Sometimes, I feel ‘cut off’ from most of my friends in Vancouver or other parts of the world. I think these feelings are normal as summer can actually be quite a lonely time for many students. The transition is difficult partially because as students, we’re used to feeling independent and self-sufficient (most of the time). Moving back home can sometimes feel like a loss of independence. Additionally, any significant change in environment, even if only temporary, can cause stress. For students who have just graduated, you may be moving back home for the foreseeable future, and that can be a hard transition to make when you don’t know what your next step is right away. For international students, you may even be returning to a different part of the world which can lead to feelings of culture shock. The move can be especially challenging if you are coping with family conflict or a tense living environment.
However, summer does provide an opportunity to focus on wellness more since people generally have more free time. Here are some words of advice for keeping well during the summer:
Getting out during the day and spend time at your local café or public libraries
Libraries are free, accessible and quiet spaces to catch up on some reading or peruse the internet. Or, you can head on over to your local café and treat yourself to your favourite drink.
Head on over to your local community centre
Your local community centre will likely offer activities such as various recreational activities, art classes, and culture events.
Call a friend
Sometimes talking with friends can be a nice break from home and you can gain support from your social circles.
Have activities that are just your own
Having activities that are just your own can help create distance from you and your home environment. Combine this with goal setting and you’re well on your way to enhancing your self-growth! For example, I recently signed up to run a half marathon by the end of June.
Exercise has been proven to boost endorphins in the brain which can lead to feelings of relaxation and happiness (Brassington, Dale & King, 2014). Even going for a brisk walk for a change of scenery can boost your mood.
Download ‘Meetup’ an app that allows you to join a community of people with similar interests as you
Meetup is a great app for getting to know people who live in your community and can help you to keep busy. There are different meetups for activities such as hiking, cooking, practicing languages, learning how to improve public speaking skills, etc.
Know that change is temporary
Eventually, you will be moving on to different things and you recognize this temporary change of environment and pace as being a small blip on the radar of your incredible life. However, if feelings of loneliness or sadness persist or become regular, please consider contacting UBC counselling services or the UBC Wellness Centre for support.
Have a great summer!
Post written by Paige Lougheed
UBC Counselling Services:
1874 East Mall, Vancouver, BC
Phone: (604) 822 3811
UBC Wellness Centre:
Irving K Barber Learning Centre
1961 East Mall, Room 183
Phone: (604) 822 8450
Hannah Dale, Linsay Brassington, Kristel King, (2014) “The impact of healthy lifestyle interventions on mental health and wellbeing: a systematic review”, Mental Health Review Journal, Vol. 19 Issue: 1, pp. 1-26.