We’re just two short days away from the official start of summer, hooray!! And while the part of me that has been longing for warmer weather and extended hours of sunlight is happy for it to finally be here, there’s another part of me that can’t help but be nostalgic, and even wistful, for the freedom felt in the summers of my youth. They weren’t anything extravagant, far from it in fact. But the relaxed attitude and carefree vibes are what I miss most. Being a grown up with a full time job kinda sucks the fun out of it, and makes it hard to achieve those summers of yesteryear that I long for.
I never went to summer camp, but even still, I can’t help but yearn for what I imagined it to be. Sunny days and star-filled nights surrounded by friends, new and old; the feeling of adventure around every corner, and making new memories at every turn. Finding a sense of independence from your biological family, while forming unbreakable bonds with a new one. Having structure, but also a sense of freedom that the school year never quite allowed.
So how can we achieve those magical summer vibes of our younger years, while living with the realities of rent payments, grocery bills and auto repairs in the forefront of our minds? Good question, huh? I’m eager to make the most of my summers as I drift farther and farther from those carefree days; not by cramming in tons of activities though, but by recapturing the ease and essence of that time. So I made a list of seven little ways to make real, grown-up life feel like summer camp.
Chase the Sun
If you wake up at the crack of dawn like me, you have no excuse not to take advantage of the beauty of the sunrise. Find a spot outdoors or stake out a seat by the window and witness the unique spectacle each morning.
Lighten and brighten your bedroom by opening your curtains and/or blinds and letting the sunshine slowly wake you. It will energize your body, mind and spirit. It’s quite magical to open your eyes to the glow of the sunrise. And hopefully it takes the sting out of having to get up and go to work every day.
And while you’re at it, after the long expanse of daylight hours comes to an end, why not stand in wonder and watch as the sun sets back down below the horizon and turns the sky into a colorful masterpiece every night.
Slather on the fake tan, baby! And dust on that bronzer! The glow will surely make you feel like you’ve spent your days being kissed by the sun, rather than being under fluorescent lighting.
Go Back In Time
When the summer weather is less than spectacular, take a break indoors and watch a movie from the days of your youth. One with summer vibes, please. Top of my list: Airborne, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and Blue Crush.
Simplify your wardrobe, simplify your hair and makeup routines, simplify your meals, simplify everything.
Unless your 9-5 dictates otherwise, summer is not the time to be all trussed up in suits and high heels. Wear simple outfits inspired by the uniform of your younger years. Maybe you can’t wear oversized tie-dye t-shirts and cutoffs to work, but toning your wardrobe down will add an effortless ease to your day. Pair it with simple jewelry (homemade friendship bracelets, anyone?), shoes, makeup and hair. Your co-workers will most certainly be jealous of the carefree, summer vibes you leave behind in the break room.
Simplify your diet. Make a batch of easy breakfasts at the start of the week so it’s like you’re at a buffet. Create a cereal bar, or other easy recipes that you can grab and go. Have PB&J or ham and cheese sammies for lunch. Burgers and hot dogs for dinner. Pasta salad or potato salad if you’re feeling fancy. You don’t want to be slaving away at the stove on a beautiful summer evening, and you certainly don’t want to be doing dishes! Or maybe you do, but I certainly don’t, lol…
Unplug from your devices. Stop looking at your phone, don’t stare at the TV for hours on end, don’t whittle away the hours mindlessly scrolling around the internet. Read a real book, write in a journal, try your hand at painting or a craft. Or go outside!
Take A Break
I’m 110% guilty of not taking full advantage of the built-in breaks I’m permitted to take each day. I eat lunch at my desk nearly every day (who am I kidding, it’s every day). But summer is the time to get outside, soak up some Vitamin D and replenish your energy for the second half of your day. So even if you can’t leave and go to a park or the like, step outside for five or ten of those minutes to rejuvenate and take advantage of the warm summer weather.
Be One With Nature
Find a body of water. Go swimming, go fishing, rent a kayak, skip rocks.
Take a walk along the banks and watch the sun glint and gleam.
Play a sport. Play many sports.
Go for a hike. Go on a scavenger hunt. Go to a playground and SWING ON THE SWINGS!
Eat alfresco or have a true picnic complete with blanket and basket.
Catch (and release) fireflies.
Watch the clouds drift through the blue skies during the day.
Gaze up at the stars once the sun goes down at night.