Summer is for You, Not your followers

Summer is for You, Not your followers

Because your life does not need to be aesthetically pleasing!

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Every year more and more, I notice my friends, acquaintances, and even mutual friends trying desperately hard in their Instagram photos. Now with the summer here and vacations being booked, it seems Instagram has become more of a quiet competition than ever before. From the perfect captions to the perfect arm candy, whatever happened to some good old fashioned fun when we just don't care about anything else but actually enjoying the time.

Now don't get me wrong, I love posting cute photos when I'm on a day trip or week long getaway next to the ocean or amongst dozens of skyscrapers in Manhattan, but that is not my day to day life. However, on Instagram we are brainwashed into thinking our friends from middle school are living these extravagant picturesque lives in the same neighborhood as us…that seems pretty farfetched unless you live in a major city. The truth is, the majority of your friends probably are not even close to being models. They do not have Barbie looking proportions and probably have not even started their real careers yet. However, on Instagram they try to show off their fanciest clothes with the wittiest of captions trying to get likes and to show off to their followers.

Also notice how you NEVER see your followers in the morning with the "no makeup messy bed look" and if you do, it usually is always staged to some level. This is the same for seeing your friends taking most of their photos in conventional places like school or work. That is because we try to fit a cookie cutter standard set by celebrities and fashion influencers to look and act a certain way on social media.

However, that is not what I want to see on my feed and I think it's time we take a step back and focus more on the people and places in front of us.

Of course, there are always going to be popular destinations, festivals, parties, etc. that we are all going to want to be a part of, but we should not live our lives scrolling through unreachable expectations we have made for each other and for ourselves. The fact of the matter is, is that Instagram should be a place to check in on your friends, not a place to silently try to one up them with the more commented on or liked photos.

See, summer shouldn't be about buying the most "instagramable" swimsuits and going to trendy places just for the likes and attention. While I completely encourage taking pictures while you go if you want, you should not make your sole focus of each outing this summer trying to show off on social media to the world. The truth is, life is too short and season change like the weather, so please do yourself a favor and throw on something comfortable and have a good time this weekend. I promise you that you'll thank me later.

Cover Image Credit:

Allison Gass

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5 Reasons To Start Planning Your Spring Or Summer Garden Now

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Gardening is a time-consuming hobby. It may take hours just to weed and water all of your plants depending on your garden size. Not to mention going to the gardening store and spending money on soil, fertilizer and new plants to add to your collection. Many times gardening seems like something that would be better left out of your life or taken care of by a service. Despite the hassle of buying, tending to and spending time on your garden, being outside has a ton of benefits (and nothing can compare to the satisfaction of having a beautiful place to read, sunbathe or play with your dog in a space that you created with your own two hands)!

1. Stress relief

Gardening is a great way to promote stress-relief. Being outdoors is known to boost relaxation. Moreover, growing a vegetable garden can make it easier to maintain a healthy diet (which can reduce the effects of stress on the body).

2. Exercise

If you are lacking exercise, gardening is a great opportunity to get outside and get your daily workout. The best part is that you just have to go to your backyard.

3. Vitamin D

Being outside also allows you to get some much-needed Vitamin D. Vitamin D maintains calcium levels and helps promote healthy bones.

4. Horticultural therapy

Gardening is therapeutic. It does more than just relieve stress! Horticultural therapy is meant to improve the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of life. A therapist leads gardening activities as a form of treatment.

5. Socialization opportunities

Lastly, gardening provides time to socialize. Many communities have local gardens that invite people to help harvest and plant. This allows you to meet more members of your community and be involved in volunteer work.

Gardening is hard work. It takes determination and requires the gardener to be prepared for winter to strip away their creation after summer has ended. However, it is all worth it for the benefits received from spending time outside and getting active. Start planning your garden now by looking up plants that fit your climate. Maybe even start simple with a little house plant to care for. It is obvious that time around nature is time well spent.

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