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Escaping the Bummer Summer Blues

When we were 17, it's possible our only worry was keeping the gas tank at least half-full and not getting burned (or parking tickets if you're from Jersey) at the beach! One of my best summer memories is from my senior year in high school when a bunch of my girlfriends and I skipped school (yeah, Hi Mom and Dad!) to go audition for the MTV Beach House in Seaside Heights. Yours truly was the only one to get a call back and I danced badly with frizzy hair behind the likes of Carson Daly and Funkmaster Flex meeting celebrities for NO PAY all summer...AND IT WAS AWESOME. I had so much fun (and SO many parking tickets) and it was such a carefree summer that I will never forget. Ah, but the liberated days of summer are so long gone as an adult with responsibilities, bills, blah, blah, blah.

So how do you escape the bummer summer blues? Let's face it: we have had to redefine how we have fun now. The kids need to be entertained, work doesn't stop (unless you're a teacher), and you spend long days from inside a cubicle yearning to sink your toes in the gritty sand while the sun beams down on your smiling face. Before you quit your job, here are 5 ways to maximize your summer without hitting the lottery and reinvigorate your energy for work!

Summer Sunset Splash

1. Go outside.

Get up, get out, and do something for 30 minutes. Eat your lunch under a tree, take a walk, play catch with a coworker, start a garden, or read your favorite blog (ahem!) on a park bench. It doesn't matter what it is, just do it--leave your desk. If you're really feeling frisky, schedule your next few meetings out on the patio or on the move. Technology makes it possible to bring presentations and paperwork with you (if you really must).

2. Create a beach vibe.

Use a mobile app to create an audible beach scenario and improve your focus. On cruises, I like to sleep with the balcony door open so I can hear the sound of the waves breaking against the ship. To recreate this, I add ocean sounds with slow waves, and light wind on Relax Meditation (available for Android in the Google Play Store).

3. Try a new recipe.

Summer harvests bring great, fresh ingredients to incorporate into your food routine! Get daring and fun with these fruits and veggies and invite your grill to join the party. Make enough to have an encore performance for lunch. Don't forget that great garden can supply your recipes with fresh munchables.

4. Learn something new.

Sometimes acquiring new skills and abilities are a great way to wake up the brain. Try watching a documentary on Netflix or learn a new language (I like Duolingo--also available for iOS and Android--for short, fun language lessons).

5. Reconnect with an old friend.

It doesn't hurt to get reacquainted with good times and get back in touch with a side of you that you may have forgotten about. Give an old friend a call to reminisce, reconnect, and share a laugh.

These are very specific activities to try, but ultimately, you need to have the mindset for change. If your summer is not going how you would have hoped, start by asking "what's stopping me?" From there, you can build a sustainable foundation for creating changes in your life and creating the summer (and life) that you will enjoy year after year.

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