As summer rolls around again, it’s easy to get sucked into wasting your vacation, lying on the couch, watching television or playing video games. It’s time to think about enjoying every single precious moment of your downtime in a healthy, productive way.
“Work out a schedule for the summer vacation that involves a wide range of beneficial activities to make the most of your time,” says Azza Koraym, a professor of sociology at the National Center for Social and Criminological Research.
She suggests taking up a sport. Many students give up exercise during the academic year to focus on their studies, unaware of its positive effect on both mental and physical health.
“Participating in summer sports or trying out an interesting sport you have longed to practice can be a great release of tension and a shield from illness,” Koraym advises students and everybody else.
Abdel al-Aziz al-Shakhs, a professor of psychology, echoes this view. He says that people get out of shape at work by sitting in front of a computer for long periods. It’s essential, he says, to burn fat through physical exertion.
“Fitness and nutrition go hand-in-hand, so make sure you exercise on a daily basis and follow an effective nutritional regime,” he recommends.
He explains that proper nutrients reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases, including diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular problems, and boost an immune system negatively affected by stress.
Koraym also encourages trying something different to feel a change. Enrich your knowledge by reading interesting books or learning a new language.
“Attending non-academic courses such as music, art and pottery is a way to rediscover artistic inclinations and bring out your creative side,” she says, advising college students to choose a training course within their field of study to gain experience and responsibility at a young age.
Alternatively, a little travel can rejuvenate the soul and break the cycle of routine.
To fully enjoy a trip, Shakhs suggests trying to clear your mind from anxiety and escaping work-related concerns. Nothing ruins a vacation like taking your work with you. “The easiest way is to stop talking about work problems and issues to control your thoughts. Don’t take your laptop for work if there is nothing essential to be done.”
Travel does not have to cost you the heavy expense of going abroad. You can simply go for a weekend to relatives or friends who live far way and whom you usually do not get enough time to visit, Koraym says.
Finally, try reviving your social life for a fun-filled vacation. If you devote a lot of time to work, it’s a perfect opportunity to spend quality time with your family. “Bring them together by planning a new activity every time you meet, such as starting a family game night, spending time outdoors, or having a barbecue party,” Koraym suggests.
Get in touch with friends you have been too busy to meet. Find mutual interests that will bring you together – shopping, exercising, learning a new craft, volunteer work… the list goes on and on.
Stepping back from your worries is what you really need to recharge your energy for returning to work or study. “Make sure to come out with a valuable experience without losing sight of the fun side of your summer vacation,” Shakhs says.