How to Ease the Transition to Summer

Carolyn Rubenstein, PhD

Licensed psychologist and wellness consultant

I tried pickleball for the first time on June 1. New hobbies can be helpful amidst larger shifts.

June is a month often marked by changes:

… hurricane season begins June 1st

… the end of school

… the beginning of camp

… shifts in routines and schedules

… changes in weather

… personal changes

While many of these changes aren’t negative—longer days mean more sunlight (which increases serotonin, a neurotransmitter that can improve mood). And for many, it means more time spent engaging in activities outside (which is critical for overall well-being).

Yet, change of any type (even good change) can create negative emotions because our brains tend to view changes as bad rather than simply different.

Your Emotional Calendar

Think about how these changes impacted you in the past: the anxiety of transitioning from the structured school year to the unstructured summer, the stress of planning summer activities, or the discomfort of adjusting to the sweltering summer heat. In the present, you might be feeling a mix of excitement and dread as you anticipate the upcoming changes. Looking to the future, if these feelings go unaddressed, they could build up, making it harder to enjoy the season and potentially leading to burnout or feelings of overwhelm.

I’ve experienced these summer shifts myself, and they’ve often left me feeling ungrounded and anxious.

The constant adjustments in routines and schedules made it challenging to maintain my footing and savor the ordinary sparkling moments.

But, as a psychologist, I’ve learned to create reminders for myself to use during this time of year. By combining my personal experiences with professional insights, I’ve developed strategies that help me—and can help you—navigate this season with a greater sense of control.

Navigate Change with Intention

1️⃣ Enter the way you hope to exit.

How do you want to feel by the end of June or the summer season? Reflect on these desired feelings and let them guide how you enter this new month or season. Choose an intention and keep it at the forefront of your mind as you navigate forward.

2️⃣ This change is temporary.

Remember, the changes associated with a month or season are not permanent. The wobbly feeling you might experience won’t last forever.

3️⃣ Change is not bad; it’s simply different.

Different doesn’t have to mean bad. Remind yourself that you can feel anxious or wobbly AND still have positive experiences. A fellow psychologist/friend recently shared a great reminder with me as I navigate the anxiety of my son leaving for sleepaway camp. 💡Think about how it feels to go on a trip: there’s often anticipation and a sense of unsettledness during the first few days. We can expect this for ourselves too. There might be anxiety or unease at first, but we can look forward to when the newness fades and we settle in.

4️⃣ Be prepared.

As a native Floridian currently living in South Florida, hurricane prep is a must before a storm hits. Similarly, prepare for what you can so that future you feels safe and comfortable.

5️⃣ Create mini routines.

Think of a specific area of your life (e.g., morning, before bed, movement, self-care) and write down three things you can do regularly in that area on a post-it note. For example, before bed: a gentle stretch, name three things you’re grateful for, and set one intention for the next day. These should be doable regardless of changes in your routine. I recommend choosing 1-2 specific areas to anchor yourself.

6️⃣ Create two lists.

On one list, write down all your thoughts related to this time—any worries or anything coupled with a negative emotion. On the second list, write down what you’re looking forward to and hope to do during this time (it’s normal for the second list to be shorter!). Allow these two lists to coexist. You can validate the negative stuff and hold on to the positive at the same time.

Your Path Forward

As you face any changes this month, remember how unsettling transitions can be. Reflect on past experiences where the shifts left you feeling ungrounded and anxious. This is a natural response to change, but it doesn’t have to define your experience.

By entering June with intention, preparing for temporary disruptions, and embracing mini routines, you can navigate this season with more ease and control. Keep reminding yourself that different doesn’t mean bad, and that feeling anxious doesn’t preclude positive experiences.

Take action now. Set your intentions, create your lists, and establish those mini routines. You have the tools and awareness to turn this season into a time of growth and joy. Let’s step into this new season together, prepared and empowered to embrace the ordinary sparkling moments it has to offer.

All my love,
Dr. Carolyn

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