3 Ideas for Staying Sharp Over the Summer

When summer rolls around, it can often feel like the slowdown that comes once you cross the finish line after a long race. You slog toward the snack table, muscles burning, ready for some refreshment in the form of food and a long nap. Finishing a week of finals and a year of school can feel similarly, and summer vacation is generally a welcome rest from the general hubbub of the school year.

Not all get a leisurely period of time to rest and relax, however. Perhaps you have a summer internship or summer job to attend to, or maybe you’re traveling somewhere. But, maybe, you’re one of the lucky ones who has three whole glorious months to yourself to enjoy! Whatever you’re plans are for this summer, it’s a good idea to keep some habits around so you don’t let your brain slowly fade and garble as the hot summer months go by. Read on for some tips to help you stay sharp and make the transition back to college a little bit easier when August rolls around.

1. Keep learning

All year long, you’ve been adjusted to taking in a whole lot of information almost every day. Whether it’s information you’ve enjoyed learning about—perhaps, something related to your major or specialty–or you’ve been forced to take a semester-long math class or English class that makes you want to scream into your pillow each night, your mind is fairly used to absorbing information and retaining a lot of it at the same time.

Once summer rolls around, it can be easy to stop learning altogether. While you might do some “emotional learning” through your personal life via chatting at the poolside while working on your summer tan, it’s a good idea to keep your head in the game for a number of reasons. Here are some easy ways to keep learning during the summer months:

  • Read a couple articles each day
  • Start a new book at least once a month
  • Enroll in summer classes
  • Adopt a new hobby

Whether you’re learning how to sail or knit, or you’re just reading the next Harry Potter book, it all does your brain some good. Not only will your transition back to school feel easier, but you’re benefitting your brain by starting lifelong habits of learning.

2. Stay organized

Just because it’s summer doesn’t mean you should start living like a slob or stop keeping track of your appointments and commitments. If you kept a planner while in school, keep it up over the summer! There are about a million phone apps that can help you organize your to do’s or stay on top of your meetings and engagements. At the very least, give Google Calendar a try and set it up to integrate with your phone’s calendar. That way, no matter where you are, you’ll know exactly what time you need to be at the dentist’s office and what day your meeting you’re meeting your friends for coffee.

Stick with the same mantra for how you keep your space. If it’s tempting to let clutter creep in while you’re vacationing away, set some easy boundaries for yourself—for instance, the ten-minute tidy usually will do the trick. Set a timer each evening before bed, and spend ten minutes tidying your space. Once the timer goes off, boom! You’re done. You might be surprised how quickly you can clean and how much you can put away in a such a short amount of time.

3. Try to keep a sleep schedule

Staying up late and sleeping are hallmarks of both Saturdays and summer vacation. Sure, this is fine now and then, but try not to make getting less than eight hours a sleep a regular habit. During the school year, our classes and responsibilities generally help us maintain a consistent schedule, but in the summer, it’s easy to let it all go by the wayside.

Try your best to get eight hours and keep some semblance of a sleep schedule. Sleep affects everything we do, and it’s healthier for your body and brain to stay consistent and get the right amount of hours in.