It’s summer time!

While that statement may not bring to mind running through sprinklers or going to sleepover camps anymore, it can still bring a sense of excitement. No more exams, no more sharing dorm room showers, no more cafeteria food (unless, of course, you’re staying at school for the summer). But now that you’re technically an “adult,” as they call it, summer usually means getting a job – like a real, nine-to-five job, if you can swing it.

Jobs can be stressful, especially now that most of us rely on our own income, rather than our parents’. They can also mean potential workplace drama, missing out on get-togethers with friends, or having to skip a perfect beach day. But don’t let that get you down, because summer can be a great time to relax, renew, and readjust to life in the real world.

With summer comes extra hours of daylight (woohoo!) and more time to spend outside. Instead of going to the gym, try converting your exercise routine to one that you can take outdoors. Going for a run through park or wood trails, climbing a mountain, or going for a bike ride is great for your physical and mental well-being. It’s been proven that sunlight can make you happier (and tanner), so try getting some extra vitamin D by spending more time outside. Listening to the sounds of nature can help you relax, breathe deeper, and put many of your problems into perspective.

Summer also means more fruits and veggies are at your disposal. This leads to more creative meals! Try some new recipes you’ve saved on Pinterest or add in one new ingredient to your old favorites. I’ve started using different herbs like sweet mint and Thai basil in my meals and it’s amazing how much more flavorful they become.

After an undoubtedly busy and overwhelming school year, it’s important to take some time to yourself during the summer. This can mean many different activities (more info on that to come), but whatever you do, make sure you’re practicing self-appreciation. It’s been a tough day, week, month, etc., and you deserve to take an hour or an afternoon or a day to do what makes you happy.

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What else is summer good for? Doing what you don’t have time to do during the school year. For me, this is writing, cooking, and surfing, but it could be anything from crafting to spending quality time with your family. Life is short, and summer days (and nights) are meant for adventure, connection, and revitalization.

Summer is the perfect time to release your inner child. Although you may be an adult now, you’re never too old to play flashlight tag, build sandcastles, or chase the ice cream man (and believe me, I still do).

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