By Char Shields - May 18, 2019

Second year of university has drawn to a close which means I'm now on my summer break. For the first time since I was about 14 (I'm nearing 22 now), I've decided to not work over the summer and focus on my seemingly forever deteriorating mental health. And since I won't be working, I'm going to have a lot of time on my hands.

Setting some practical and plausible goals for the summer, similar to new years resolutions, can really help get your mind back on track. Although, I'm prone to not sticking to them, this year I have set some hard but reachable goals to help me use my time-off productively.

1. Focus on Recovery

Now I consider myself going through the "proper" process of actual recovery, this is where I need to direct my focus, which will hopefully be easier without the stresses of deadlines. Obviously I'm not expecting to magically recover by September, but I would like to be on the right path, and be equipped with the needed tools to deal with my eternal struggles. 

2. Build Up a Healthy Exercise and Eating Routine

I don't know how many times I have said "I'm going to get fit and healthy" on this blog (and in real life). However, this time it is different. Instead of pushing myself to attend the gym daily and tire myself out with long, vigorous workouts, I'm going to build myself up slowly by cutting my gym routine to once a week, whilst including one or two walks a week, then slowly building myself back up.

This goes for eating as well: building up more meals and attending therapy to help improve my relationship with food.

3. Maybe Get Work Experience

Whilst I'm not going to work a full-time job, I would like to get some work experience in areas that I'm interested in (Copywriting, Journalism and Publishing). I won't put any pressure on myself, but it would be fantastic to get work that I find rewarding. And if I manage to earn some extra money on the side, then that would be a bonus! Living off the rest of your student loan and overdraft is not a fun life...

4. Spend More Time With Family

Last summer, I rarely saw my family as I decided to work in Bristol. This summer, I'm aiming to spend more quality family time. And by 'quality family time' I mean dog walks on the beach, nights playing Mario Kart on the Wii and getting very, very drunk together.

5. Get Out At Least Once a Day

As suggested by my support worker, I'm going to leave the flat at least once a day. Whether it's a full day out, a nice walk or just a trip to the supermarket. Staying in a small flat every single day is only making my mental health worse and sending me back down a very dark hole. 


Finally, I want to focus on my personal writing projects. Now that uni has finished, I can write whatever the hell I want! With a few projects in the works, this will be treated as my "job" over the next few months. It's something that I love and enjoy - I never want to stop writing.

Plummeting into a mental health crisis was the wake-up call I needed: I can't continue to live like this. Depression stole my teenage years, and I can feel it taking away my twenties too. I'm well aware that people may judge me for not working over the summer, but the truth is that I'm just not ready.

There's a dark cloud that's fogging up my brain, making it hard to get out of bed, to do basic actions such as showering or washing the dishes, or even to talk properly (I no words good now). Even writing this blog post, I've had to search multiple words and synonyms because I just can't think right anymore. It's about time I put myself first.

Until the next time,


Click to read my last post. 
Click to read my New Years Resolutions Post - now over 1,200 views!

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