So, we've passed the halfway point of summer vacay — the fourth of July. The middle of summer is the perfect time to whip out that summer to-do list, and start checking off all the things you were supposed to accomplish. It's also a great time to whip your life into shape before fall.
Let's face it: By the middle of summer, things can begin to get stale. The "I'm on vacation" diet of constant ice cream, pizza, and fries can have you feeling less than healthy and energetic. Your "home friends" that you couldn't wait to see in May are starting to fall back into their old habits. You're burnt out from your summer job, or you're bored from spending all day around the house. It never fails.
However, sprucing up your life and clearing your mind mid-summer will help you renew your summer excitement and start fresh in the fall with no regrets. Here are 10 ways to do that.
1. Work it, Gurrrl
Most of us start off the summer with lofty goals ranging from exercising weekly to training for a marathon. But, inevitably, these goals are usually abandoned by the second or third week. If fitness was one of your summer goals, you can still get back on track:
- Start running (or up your game) early in the morning to beat the heat. Try running around your neighborhood, old high school track, (or, for the lucky ones) on the boardwalk.
- If you're like me and cannot stand running outside, join a gym! Do cardio by taking Zumba, kickboxing, or Pilates, and switch up your activities to avoid getting bored. This is also a good idea for mother-daughter bonding while on break.
- Need more motivation? Seventeen's blog has some workout inspiration tips that I found particularly helpful.
2. Cut Your Time Online
I know, not accessing your favorite social networking site for 2 days makes you feel like the world is moving on without you. But, it's gorgeous outside - you'll have plenty of time to waste online come fall!
- Temporarily de-activate your Facebook account for a week, and see how much less stress and free time you have. This article shows that there is actually a link between Facebook use and anxiety levels in teens and young adults.
- If you're worried you won't know what to do with yourself, see our post: 3 Ways to Enjoy Yourself Without the Internet.
3. Have a Guilty Pleasure Marathon
After all that working out, you need a good marathon! No, not the 26 mile kind. I'm talking about spending an entire day in front of the TV with your OC box set following the Seth-Summer-Ryan-Marissa love quadrangle. Cuddle up with your favorite Ben & Jerry's *cough* RED VELVET CAKE *cough*, grab a stack of DVDs, and relax
While summer presents many opportunities to go out and do fun things, sometimes what you need most is a little R&R. Don't feel guilty about indulging yourself every once in a while - you deserve it!
4. Change Your Look
Summer is a fantastic time to reinvent your aesthetic and try out a new look. It's best to experiment now and find out what you like so you can start fresh in the fall. A few suggestions:
- Give yourself a mini-makeover. Take a trip to a spa for the day and get a massage. Try out a haircut you were always afraid to get. Chances are, it'll still look good. If not, you still have about a month before school so you have plenty of time to fix it up beforehand.
- Take some time to think about your own personal style "brand". What pieces in your wardrobe are "you", and which aren't? What's your style and what isn't? Really think this over, then do a closet clean out and ditch anything that doesn't fit with the style you want to portray.
5. Have a One Day Getaway
Can't afford the flight to Costa Rica? Can't even afford to take off from your summer job to go to the Britney Spears concert? Don't worry! There are plenty of day trips you can take to break you out of a summer rut:
- Take younger siblings or cousins to your local zoo. I love the zoo. Don't ask me why but it's always fun to wander around, see the sights, and wish you had a pet lion, tiger, liger, whatever.
- Grab your girlfriends and go to your closest city for a day of shopping and lunch. What better way to spend a day off than to walk around a city window shopping and catching up on all your summer drama? Retail therapy + hummus burgers + best friends = heaven.
- If you're lucky enough to live by the seashore, take a mini road trip out for the day and back. Also, amusement parks, indoor water parks, and even trips to your local park are all good ideas!
6. Get Your Finances in Shape
Normally, I don't want to even think about the balance in my bank account (I believe I ended the school year with 35 cents left). But, it isn't a bad idea to open up a summer savings account -- if you haven't done so already. Splitting up your job money into separate accounts, and calculating how much money you will need for the school year, your new iPhone, and your adorable new school supplies is a good idea to do now, instead of opening your account in August to find... oh, I don't know, 35 cents.
7. Go Natural
As we all know, summer is the best time for delicious (and unhealthy) food: Giant soft serve ice cream cones, burgers straight from the grill, and frozen cocktails are impossible to resist when warm weather sets in. But while these foods are fine in moderation, eating them constantly can leave you feeling sluggish and sick.
Here are a few tips to enjoy the tastes of summer while taking care of your body:
- Try to avoid eating anything with an expiration date. Fresh fruits in season right now include strawberries, peaches, blueberries (antioxidants, yummy!), raspberries, and kiwi.
- Opt for healthier options of unhealthy Summer treats: Choose frozen yogurt (which is lower in calories and fat) over regular ice cream. Get your iced coffee "skinny" with skim milk and skip on the whip.
- Also, portion control helps a lot for controlling a summer sweet tooth. Most ice cream places, like Dairy Queen with their mini blizzard, have kid's sizes that are just as satisfying as the regular sizes but won't put you into sugar and calorie overload.
8. Find a Little Inspiration
When you're working a summer job, sometimes it seems that your friends are having fun without you, and your life is moving without you in it. Getting stuck in this mindset makes you want to count down the days until you go back to school, but once you get back, you'll be counting the days to Summer again. For me, the key to staying optimistic is seeking out inspiring reading.
I personally look to the Smart, Pretty, and Awkward Blog for tips on being smarter, prettier, and (less) awkward daily - it's always a fun read that puts a smile on my face. Also, reading GivesMeHope always helps me put things into perspective. What are your favorite inspiring reads?
9. Crack a Book
Summer is the time to read. Whether it's on the beach, in cool air conditioning, or on the road, take the time to crack open a fresh book. I just finished Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk, which was on my book bucket list for a while. I definitely recommend reading the book before seeing the movie.
10. Spend Time with the Fam
The last thing you think of when you hear the words "summer vacation" is "family bike trip", however, family bonding is important while you're home (then you can go back to calling once every 2 weeks back at school). It's nice to be around people who truly understand you as a person, and care about you (no matter how much you may fight).
- Organize a family game night. It's probably been a while since you had one of those, right? Grab some fun board games (Apples to Apples is a fave), plenty of snacks, and spend a night in. Your parents will appreciate that you want to spend time with them, and you'll have some fun in the process.
- Try cooking dinner for your parents one night. It shows you still care about them, and are learning responsibility at school. Which may make you appear responsible enough to manage a new car at school, or deserving of new mature Jimmy Choo pumps. Or, at the very least, it'll buy you some ice cream frozen yogurt.
I hope this little mid-Summer clean-up list helped! Do you guys have any things you do to help you relax when things start getting monotonous? Any Summer diet/exercise ideas you swear by? Or, any good books to recommend? What do you think ladies?