"Summer Time!"

Image by Stefan Schweihofer from Pixabay

For those enjoying the summer months in the northern hemisphere, summer can be joyful and relaxing. However, it can also be a time of increased stress, especially for neurodiverse adults and children. This is because summer is often a time of transition, with many people juggling work, travel, family obligations, and more.

The relaxed pace and flexible schedule (if your work/life experiences this flow) can be a treat for some, and it might be more like a nightmare for others! Neurodiverse adults and children need structure and a regular rhythm to stay grounded. Even during the summer! Non-structured days with plenty of free time can be exhausting because the brain searches for a routine to guide the way.

A flexible routine works wonders. Here are a few pointers to help you design your summer flexible schedule.

  • Get enough sleep. When you're well-rested, you're at your best. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night.

  • Keep some routines consistent (sleep schedules and mealtimes). They will anchor your day and provide a sense of stability.

  • Implement your new routines as added anchors for your day. (For example, swim in the morning, and check your emails twice daily.) Add some "me time" or family fun times too. These can act as anchors and motivators.

  • Remember to use your agenda or calendar! The visual reminder will provide structure in the summer months.

  • Use an index card or Post-it note to create a ToDay (not to do) checklist. This will help you focus on a few tasks and avoid feeling overwhelmed.

  • Set some goals (3 or 4) you want to achieve during the week. Write some action steps for each of the goals. Take it one step further and add some accountability by writing when you will complete the action step, or even better, ask a friend to help you in the accountability process!

  • Eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise most days of the week. Want bonus points? Spend time in nature. Being in nature has been shown to reduce stress levels. Go for a walk in the park, hike in the woods, or sit in your backyard and enjoy the fresh air.

  • Practice mindfulness. There are many different ways to practice mindfulness, such as meditation, yoga, or simply paying attention to your breath. Mindfulness can help you relax and focus on the present moment, reducing stress levels.

  • Set boundaries. Setting boundaries with yourself and others is essential to not overextend yourself. Learn to say no to requests you don't have time for (or you are simply not interested), which will add to your stress levels.

  • Remember to use technology (alarms and reminders) if you need help until you get used to your new summer routine.


Practice self-compassion as you adjust to the rhythm change. These pointers are helpful year-round. See which ones you already incorporate in your daily routine and which ones you wish to slowly add to your day.  

With gratitude,

Ana Isabel Sánchez