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  • Writer's pictureSarah Santiago

Summer Break Therapy: A Proactive Approach to Managing Fall Semester Stress And Anxiety

Updated: May 11


Person with red jacket sits on the beach looking at a laptop, sitting next to a camping tent at sunset. This image is meant to represent a college student on summer break starting a virtual therapy session to address their anxiety

As the heat of summer approaches, it's the perfect time for college students to take a breather and recharge. With longer days, increased social activities, and the absence of academic stress, summer break offers a valuable opportunity for students with anxiety to prioritize their mental wellbeing. Many people experience a positive mood boost during the summer which actually makes it an excellent time to attend therapy. Let's explore the benefits of seeking therapy during summer break, focusing on how a regulated nervous system can facilitate the adoption of new coping skills and prepare college students to navigate the challenges of the upcoming fall semester.


Less Stress Allows For More Practice:

During the summer months, several factors work harmoniously to promote a more regulated nervous system. With less academic pressure, more exposure to sunlight, increased social interactions, and reduced stress, students often experience a sense of calm and balance. By capitalizing on this naturally more regulated state, therapy sessions can be even more effective in helping college students build a toolbox of coping skills tailored to their unique needs. We can use this less stressful time to practice new coping skills to allow our bodies to respond more easily when the stress piles back on in the fall. Consider this: if you were performing in a concert or an athletic event, would you expect to perform better if you just jumped right into the event, or if you had spent time practicing? Practicing our mental health coping skills in times when we are less stressed primes our brains and bodies in a similar way as practicing for an athletic event or concert performance.


Cultivating Coping Skills for the Fall Semester:

Therapy sessions during summer break provide an invaluable opportunity to explore and adopt new mental health coping skills. With a regulated nervous system acting as a solid foundation, individuals can dive deeper into understanding their anxiety triggers, develop effective coping mechanisms, and practice self-care techniques. Without being in survival mode, we can tackle more together in therapy. By arming themselves with these skills during the summer, students will be better equipped to tackle their anxiety head on when the academic pressures inevitably rise during the fall semester.


Breaking the Cycle of Anxiety:

Waiting until stress or anxiety peaks to address it can often make it more challenging to address and manage. By taking proactive steps during the summer break, students can disrupt the cycle of anxiety and prevent it from reaching overpowering levels. Engaging in therapy sessions now allows for a targeted approach to understanding and addressing anxiety triggers, enabling students to develop customized strategies that work for them.


Fostering Self-Growth and Well-being:

Summer break offers a unique opportunity for students to focus on their personal growth and well-being. Investing time in therapy allows individuals to delve into deeper aspects of themselves, build self-esteem, and foster emotional resilience. Through the therapeutic process, clients can develop a stronger sense of identity, overcome people-pleasing tendencies, and cultivate a healthy relationship with themselves, all of which are instrumental in navigating the challenges that arise during the school year.


Therapy during the summer break is not just a mere indulgence; it's an investment in your mental well-being and personal growth. By taking advantage of the regulated state of your nervous system, you can explore, adopt, and master coping skills that will serve you well as you transition into the fall semester. Embrace the nurturing space therapy provides, and embark on a journey of self-discovery and empowerment, giving yourself the tools needed to bloom into your most authentic self.


If you'd like to schedule a session or learn more about therapy during summer break, feel free to reach out. Together, we can navigate the path to a healthier and more fulfilling college experience.



Note: This blog post is not intended to replace professional advice. If you are experiencing severe anxiety or mental health issues, it is recommended to consult with a licensed mental health professional. If you are in a crisis, please seek help immediately. National Domestic Violence Hotline: Call: 800-799-7233 Text*: START to 88788 TTY: 800-787-3224 Chat: https://thehotline.org



About the author: Sarah Santiago is a licensed professional counselor in Michigan. She provides therapy to Michigan college students and emerging adults (ages 18-29) virtually. Her specialties include helping clients work through anxiety, eating disorders, and improving self-confidence.






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