School is out, warm weather is here, and more and more people are getting their COVID-19 vaccinations. The feeling of “normal” is slowly coming back to our communities. But many of us are left with questions and lingering uncertainty about when it’s okay to return to normal. Here’s why it’s important to engage in fun, safe activities this summer – and some ideas for activities your entire family can enjoy.
Why Returning to Normal Matters
As any parent who suddenly found themselves in lockdown knows, the pandemic took a toll on our mental health. Parenting on its own is hard enough, even in “good” times. Adding:
- Remote work
- School via Zoom
- Interrupted video calls
- The constant presence of children
- Uncertainty about when lockdown will end
- The latest scary headline
…was a recipe for anxiety.
Now that the COVID-19 vaccine is available and many people are fully vaccinated, it’s possible to return to activities previously enjoyed before lockdown.
But how do you know you’re ready? And how do you adjust to normalcy without triggering massive social anxiety?
With a little bit of careful planning, it’s possible to have a fun, safe summer with the kids. Here are some examples of fun and safe activities:
- Camping in the backyard to spend more time outside
- Have a bake-off with another family in your bubble
- Plan a picnic somewhere outdoors
- Have a puppet show and invite close friends and family
- Take the family pet out for a long leisure walk together as a family.
- Outdoor movie nights with neighbors
- Organize a hike or trip to the beach
- Practice “gratitude days” by finding one thing that brings you joy and sharing it with someone you care about
- Give your teen a chance to feel in control and validated through a “choose your own day” where they set the rules on everything–from what to wear, what to eat, where to go, etc.
- Let your teen express themselves by rearranging the house – and have your teen make the decisions
- Take a phone free day and create activities where you exercise open communication (and distract yourselves from your phones for a change!)
- Create a vision board by gathering magazines, newspapers, printed pictures; then spend an hour with your teen creating your vision boards for your ideal summer, what you want in the coming school year, and other goals; then use it as a chance to “re-anchor” your priorities as you return to normal
It might feel a little uncomfortable to go out again after a year of being on high alert. But it’s important to do just that. Participating in activities like this is a key step to being more normal and adjusted – both for kids returning to school in the fall, and for parents who are heading back into the office.
If you or a loved one is feeling the effects of pandemic-related social anxiety and want help, know you’re not alone. Speak with us at San Antonio Behavioral Healthcare Hospital. Our team of specialists understands what you’re going through and how to help. Call us directly at +1 (210) 541-5300 or contact us online.