9 Ways to Help Your Team Beat End of Summer Blues

Are you or your team members feeling those end-of-summer blues?

It’s normal.

The summer is a glorious time of vacations, relaxed work days, warmer weather, and fun outdoor activities. When it comes to an end, it’s normal to feel a bit blue or bummed emotionally. Once workers return from extended time off and fun times, it can be hard to get back into the groove of work.

But it doesn’t have to be a total bummer. In fact, you can make it enjoyable for your workers coming down from their vacation high by giving them something to look forward to upon their return.

Here’s a look at how employers can get their staff to reframe their mindset around the end of summer.

Beat the End-of-Summer Blues With These Activities

Don’t let the end of summer bum out your team. Instead, create ongoing traditions and fun events that everyone will look forward to when they get back from their vacations.

Here are a few ideas of how to do it:

1. Create a Memory Wall

Let your team relive their best summer memories by creating a physical memory wall of vacations, weekend fun, or anything adventurous employees tried over the summer. Alternatively, create a channel or photo file for remote workers to photo dump their best pics in. Let staff review the images in a slideshow before a staff meeting and then open a conversation about everyone’s photos for a great team-bonding activity.

2. Start an End-of-Summer Tradition

Don’t let summer just fade to fall. Have a proper “goodbye to summer” event and create an end-of-summer tradition. This may include clearing out a community garden and selecting fall foliage to plant; a family BBQ event; a workcation announcement for the fall/winter to somewhere warm or exotic for the team, or a summer festival.

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3. Host a Spirit Week

A spirit week is a great way to bring your team together in a lively way. Best of all, the theme ideas you can do are endless. Pick a new theme for each day of the work week. Ideas like crazy sock day, “best summer outfit”, team spirit day, pajama day, and summer fruit costume day will make for excellent photo opportunities. Be sure to snap pics for your employee newsletter!

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4. Watch a Flick on the Big Screen

If you have the space outdoors, buy a big blow-up movie screen and have a showing of a classic summer film for your employees. You may opt to keep it adults-only or make it family-friendly. Movie choices may include Jaws, Grease, Dirty Dancing, National Lampoon’s Vacation, Independence Day, My Girl, or The Great Outdoors. Some family-friendly flicks to consider: Happy Feet, The Sandlot, Shark Tale, or even the classic Free Willy. Don’t forget to purchase a public performance license, if needed. And, of course, make sure there’s popcorn for all!

5. Ice Cream Social

Nothing says summer like ice cream. Before fall arrives and it’s too cold for this summer dessert, make an event out of an ice cream bar. Have a variety of toppings and the usual vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry bases for employees to choose from. Don’t forget to have dairy-free and gluten-free offerings for those with allergies. They’ll appreciate the gesture! Go for an extra dose of nostalgia and talk about favorite ice cream outings and memories from when everyone was a kid.

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6. How Many Ways Are There to Eat Watermelon?

Watermelon is the official fruit of summer. Have a special luncheon where employees use summer’s star fruit as the main ingredient for a creative dish. Have participants create a recipe card to sit beside their dish so those with food allergies can avoid specific dishes as necessary. Turn it into a fun contest and have employees vote for their favorite dish. The winner gets to take home a watermelon!  

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7. Take a Hike

Connecting with nature is excellent for the mind and body. Take a team trip to a local nature trail or national park and enjoy the great outdoors together. A 2019 study published in Science Advances found that time in nature is associated with increased positive social interactions, subjective well-being, and happiness — all excellent reasons to get outdoors to beat those end-of-summer blues!

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8. Give Back

It’s hard to be sad when you’re helping someone else out. Have your team kick the end-of-summer blues by focusing on an altruistic endeavor. A local homeless shelter may need to organize items for fall; a nearby animal shelter may need dog walkers. Look around your community to see how your company can give back and spend a half-day Friday experiencing the beauty of volunteerism together.

9. Take a Social Media Hiatus Together

Social media has a way of bringing negative news stories and chatter to the forefront of our lives. It also showcases everyone’s summer highlight reels, which can trigger feelings of isolation, loneliness, and fear of missing out for those viewing it. Consider taking a challenge together as a team to break away from social media platforms (unless work-related) for a certain amount of time. Upon completing the challenge, come together to discuss how it impacted everyone’s mood, happiness levels, and more.

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Embrace What’s Left of Summer With Your Team

Summer is wrapping up and fall is just around the corner. Take advantage of the longer and warmer days while they’re here.

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As an employer, that may mean encouraging your team to take more walking meetings outdoors, picnic lunch and learn events, outdoor wellness challenges, and more.

Soak up every last bit of summer while it’s around. Before it’s gone, work with your team to plan uplifting and exciting wellness events for the fall and winter so they have something to look forward to as soon as the sun sets on summer.

If you find your team members are struggling with managing emotional wellness, consider open conversations around mental health. It’s important for employers and employees to recognize if mental health and well-being is suffering beyond just a season. Let workers know what resources are available and how your company is willing to help when it comes to mental health concerns.

How are you helping your team beat the end-of-summer blues? Share your thoughts below!

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