It's that time again! #summer2k19 has finally arrived, and when it comes to how you can spend your time, the options are ENDLESS. That being said, this time around, you and I are going to keep binge-watching to a healthy minimum and enjoy our newfound time doing something(s) that will give us a sense of not just comfort, but fulfillment.
1. Make That BANK
It can be exhausting to put in 20, 30, 40+ extra hours a week for a part-time (or full-time) job on top of everything else going on in your life right now, but it will be worth it in one way or another (even if it's just in the form of a few hundred dollars). I am SO incredibly excited to start my new job this week and feel a smidge more secure about my finances, plus have some extra spending cash for the upcoming school year!
There is ALWAYS somewhere that you can put your skills to use for the good of your community. Animal shelters, hospitals, food pantries, LGBT centers, and more (note to self: draft article on extensive volunteer opportunities) are always looking for passionate people to help those less fortunate or those in need. In addition, with the 2020 election coming up, there are so many candidates whose campaigns need volunteers! That being said, don't forget about local elections, too! By volunteering in your communities in this form you can obtain a platform to have your voice heard and inform those close to you! The feeling of satisfaction from making a difference, no matter how small, is like no other and will help spur you on through the hard moments that you and your community experience.
3. Have A Garage Sale / Donate
Declutter, declutter, declutter! It's not very hard to find items that you don't use anymore, clothes that you no longer wear, or things you're not sure why you even bought in the first place. This is a great way to get a little bit more change in your pocket, or to simply feel good knowing that your belongings will be given a second chance at finding happiness in their forever home! Either way, you just made more room for whatever may happen to catch your eye! ;)
4. Learn Something New
I always have one thing or another on my mind that I "wish I had the time to do." This year, it's playing the piano that we've housed for years but has for the most part, not given the love it so rightly deserves. Starting to pick up a new language, taking a Summer class on any topic from traditional cooking to jazz dance to scuba diving, asking your dad how to play Texas Hold'em, whatever the subject may be, there's no time like the present (especially with all of the extra hours you've stumbled upon).
5. Grab a Book!
Stop letting those books on the shelf collect dust! Whether it's just reading 20 minutes a day or a book a week (...maayyybe every other week), try to incorporate reading into your schedule. Other than just flat-out being fun when you find a series you enjoy, your brain will thank you! I always find that I'm ACTUALLY able to remember the words I'm scouring my mind for`during a reading spree.
6. GET OUTSIDE
Go on a hike, a run, for a picnic, to the beach, what have you. The Summer only lasts so long and getting your daily dose of vitamin D won't be NEARLY as easy to come by come September.
7. Explore Locally
You KNOW there's always been that one place in town that you've heard of, that people take pictures at, or that's just always caught your attention. Whatever and wherever it may be, go find it!
8. Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone
When fun opportunities arise that seem intimidating, don't let your uncertainty hold you back. This being said, baby steps are important! If you have a fear of heights, it might be wise to ease your way up to the biggest and baddest rollercoaster at an amusement park. Don't scar yourself, but don't let FOMO get the chance to rear its ugly head.
9. Make Time For Friends
Make the effort to keep your friendships from fading over the Summer, whether you have plans already or are just staying in town! Just going to grab ice cream cones at that to-die-for ice cream parlor in your area to catch up or checking in every once in a while to talk about that CRAZY thing you know they'll want to hear about will make you feel at peace and remind you that you have people all around that care deeply about you. :)
10. Continue To Be Awesome (AKA Yourself)
Above all else, find comfort in your time off from any normal duties over the course of the school year. People always focus on getting their bodies "Summer ready," but the most important thing is to not focus on other peoples' expectations and instead make sure that you are happy with yourself and your triumphs without comparison. Striving to obtain the most colorful and updated Instagram feed (which, by the way, is oftentimes full of orchestrated smiles and poses) isn't important in the grand scheme of things, and will keep you chasing greater and greater numbers of likes and comments. Focus on what is important to you now and if you're thinking ahead, for the future. Other people's opinions of you and your actions do not define who you are.
"Next Summer" is now. Go out there and have another Summer 2016.