PSA: Starbucks‘ Pumpkin Spice Latte is returning on August 30. That can only mean one thing: Summer is on its way out. And bidding adieu to sun-kissed skin, laid-back vibes, and the peak of hot-girl-walk season is a hard pill to swallow. If you’re like me and experiencing the so-called “August Blues” (think: “Sunday Scaries,” but lasting for a month) as summer is coming to an end, the feelings of sadness and anxiety have set in. Your wellness routine is nowhere to be found, and you’re in an in-between funk. Sound familiar?
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Whether it’s the dog days of summer (extreme heat and humidity that leaves you exhausted), your going-out-and-drinking-more summer habits, or the notion that everyone else is on a European excursion while you’re at work, the August Blues are real. The silver lining? There are simple ways to get motivated and prevent playing Lana Del Rey’s Summertime Sadness on repeat. Ahead, seven tips to get you out of your end-of-summer health slump and start looking forward to fall (read: pumpkin spice everything).
1. Prioritize your mental health
When it comes to health, we often only think of and take care of the physical aspect. But if the last couple of years has taught us anything, it’s how equally important it is to prioritize our mental health. It goes without saying that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to mental health, so get in sync with your mind and body and listen to what you truly need. Perhaps that looks like seeking help from a therapist, reaching out to a family member, or taking a walk with a friend. Bottom line: Rather than isolating yourself in your slump, turn to your support system.
2. Set new goals
You know that excitement you get from getting something new—a workout set, an apartment, a relationship, a desk organizer (#adulting)? Goals should be no different. Let’s say your health routine has gone out the window (and that’s OK)–start fresh by developing a new set of small goals to strive for. If your eating habits are bringing you down, make it a point to grocery shop and meal prep over the weekend so you have ready-to-go healthy fare on hand for the week. Maybe your social calendar has been so packed that you haven’t taken any time for yourself. Schedule a self-love date every week where you try a new hobby, volunteer, or re-read a favorite book.
3. Make future plans that will bring you joy
When you have something to look forward to, you look to the future instead of dwelling on what was or should’ve been. So whether it’s booking your dream vacay (or a staycation), meeting a friend for a long overdue catch-up, or nabbing tickets to a Harry Styles concert, pencil in things in the near future that will give you a boost of feel-good energy. Whatever you schedule, make sure it’s out of pure joy and not out of obligation or FOMO. In other words, be intentional with your time and fill it with what you value. The result? You’ll only have plans you’re excited about, and the August Blues will be a distant memory.
4. Catch up on your Zzzs
It’s called beauty sleep for a reason. A restless night or lack of sleep altogether can lead to not only those horrifying dark circles, but also mood swings and anxiety. And let’s face it: Summer has a way of putting us in vacay mode (even when we’re technically not) and keeping us up later at night, making it harder to get quality shut-eye. What’s a girl to do?! For starters, make the last call for alcohol or food 2-3 hours before you hit the hay and cut off caffeine at lunchtime. If your sleep schedule is out of whack (same), try establishing a sleep routine by going to bed and getting up at the same time every day. Lastly, keep it cool—your bedroom, that is. The temperature sweet spot is between 65-72 degrees.
5. Get moving
If there was such a thing as a cure-all, it would be movement. From enhancing your mood and promoting better sleep to giving your sex life some oomph, I could go on and on about the benefits of exercise (I’ll spare you). So dust off your gym shoes and get those endorphins going again with your workout of choice. And for bonus points, do it outside (you might as well take advantage of the warm weather while we’ve got it). Take to the streets for a hot girl walk, channel your inner Pilates girl, or see for yourself what all the hype is about with pickleball.
6. Use your PTO
Sometimes a break from everyday life or a change in scenery is all it takes to get out of a slump. Ladies, it’s time to push the, “I’ll take my PTO next year when things slow down” or “I’m saving up my PTO for when I take a big trip,” aside and take some much-needed and much-deserved time off. Take one day to catch up on some self-care or a few days to visit an old college friend. Either way, hitting reset will help avoid burnout, increase productivity, and reduce stress. In fact, according to a study released by the American Psychological Association, vacations can improve mood and reduce stress by removing people from the activities and environments that they associate with stress and anxiety. You don’t have to take a week-long trip—even a three-day respite has been shown to lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. If you can’t take time off from work, dedicate your day(s) off to breaking away from the day-to-day and doing something that fills your cup.
7. Refresh your home and look
I feel like a new person when I get my hair done (who’s with me?). In the same vein, my home has a renewed energy after I’ve given it a good clean or decorated it with a new piece of art. For a mini-makeover and mood-booster in one, get that haircut you’ve been eyeing, update your wardrobe, switch up your bedding, or add a houseplant to the mix. And if you’re on a tight budget or sustainability is your middle name, you’d be surprised what a difference a little consignment shopping and rearranging furniture can make.