Sometimes it feels like the years of relaxing summers where we spent time at the beach, on vacation, or simply lounging around the house are in the past. In a lot of ways that's scary. It means that everything in our futures will be dominated mostly by work. Gone are the long summer days and late nights with no agenda the next day. Once in college, it feels like an obligation to have a summer job or internship. Every moment not spent actively pursuing opportunities feels wasted and we're constantly being bombarded with questions from family inquiring after our future plans.
While dedication and motivation to work hard at our goals is an admirable and beneficial trait, it's important to learn how to destress and properly enjoy the time that we do have off. Lunch breaks at jobs should not be spent worrying about the work waiting for us when we return, and if vacation time is offered, we can't spend our days off dreading the moment we get back. It's not healthy to obsess about the things that stress us out, although it is very difficult not to. However, there are easy things we can all practice to help keep our stress levels down and make the best of our busy summers.
Reading, although I know is not for everyone, is a great way to pass time at a boring office job where the hours drag. If the work hours are long and busy, taking a book for the commute is a relaxing way to occupy your thoughts and to situate yourself in a different world for a little while. When you find a book you love it takes enough of your attention up to remove you from the stress of your life, but if it's the right book for you it also feels like a break from using your head.
It may feel like there's no time for a vacation, but there's usually always at least one day free and that's all you need. Invite someone who you love spending time with and plan a day trip somewhere fun. Go on a city date and peruse the Chelsea galleries, take a walk on the Highline, and eat at the delicious Chelsea market. If the city isn't your thing then drive down to the beach and spend the day tanning, swimming, and walking down the boardwalk.
There are a million ways to destress but the most important part of it is to remind yourself that the work that seems so important and overwhelming... isn't. There's always time to take a break and do the things that make you happy, whether it be reading, watching Netflix, going for a walk, or just taking a nap. By enforcing the idea in your head that you do actually have the time, and the right, to put your self first, you'll be learning how to enjoy your summer again, just as an adult instead.