Summer: When we were kids, it meant freedom from classrooms, teachers and homework; making new friends around the neighborhood; and playing outside until dark. Next, it was three months of tube tops and short shorts; a non-stop breeze of brief romances; and meals of ice cream and popsicles.
Now, summer has mysteriously evolved into wearing a sweater in an air-conditioned cubicle; eating cold leftovers when you can’t think of turning on the oven; and meaningful relationships with your window fan and television. Have you hit a summer slump?
After high school, responsibilities and obligations began to erode our care-free summer mentality, washing all the fun away along with it. Growing up doesn’t have to equal the end of that care-free summer attitude and the unexpected things it empowers us to do. Here are four tips, borrowed from the summers of our youth, to help reclaim your summer and all that it stands for: fun, sun and a hot summer fling.
1. Play outside.
It’s easy to be held captive by central AC, especially when summer humidity equals hair disaster. But by staying indoors, you’re missing out on all the unique–often free–events going on in the summertime. Research what your city has to offer–concerts, fairs, local restaurants and bars with outdoor spaces–to lure you away from the AC and TV and get you excited to explore new options only available in the summer months. Besides, didn’t your mother always tell you to get outside and play?
2. Declare a vacation.
Ok, so you may not be able to ditch your job for a full three month vacation. But it’s easy enough to put yourself in vacation-mode during summer weekends, with just a little planning and the right attitude. Instead of spending Saturday and Sunday doing laundry, grocery shopping and paying bills, create a schedule to finish these chores during the week. Weekends can become your own little summer vacation—for a day-trip to the beach, water park, or a neighboring city. When Friday arrives, you’ll feel like it’s the last day of school.
3. Make new friends.
Collecting new friends came easily back in the day–new neighbors, kids at camp, Make it your summer goal to meet–or even talk to–one new person a week. Don’t limit yourself to meeting people only on the bar and club scenes. You can do this anywhere–in line for your morning iced mocha, on the bus or train to work, or while scoping summer sales at your favorite store. A relaxed summer attitude can make everyone more open to chatting with a friendly stranger. Who knows, maybe one of your new friends will become your new summer romance.
4. Dress the part.
The summer uniform used to be not much more than a bathing suit. While you can’t show up at the office in a bikini without a serious show-down with HR, it’s time to shed the winter-wear. Summer is the perfect time to show off your goods and blame it all on the weather. Shop around for some strappy dresses, high sandals, and the shortest of shorts. This updated summer uniform will improve your mood and give you confidence to approach all the new friends–and summer flings– out there waiting for you.
Summer only comes around once a year–why waste it? Get out, get active and let the sun melt that slump away.
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