By Laura Lifshitz
I’d love a real tropical vacation, complete with hot cabana boy and a lot of girly mixed drinks, but unfortunately, it’s not in my budget. I’m sure many of you can relate: you’re jonesing for a vacay, but your budget screams “Don’t even splurge on that mani-pedi for a few weeks.”
But this doesn’t mean that you can’t relish and delight in the relaxation that the summer heat screams. I know it’s not the same as an island or a European tour or Iceland cruise, but you can take these 7 mental vacations to really capitalize on the summer sunshine and get yourself (and your perspective) refreshed.
The Social Media Shutdown
Shut down your social sites for a day, a weekend or, heck, a week or longer.
Social media is amazing in many ways in that you can catch up with your old high school besties and follow your friends and family members, but it can also really drag you down.
Many of us fall victim to the “comparison trap” of social media, viewing what others post and comparing it to our lives, when the truth is we are comparing their “snippets of reality” to our actual realities. This isn’t helpful.
It’s not only the comparison trap that gets us but the “time trap’ that kills us, too. We spend so much time (believe it or not) just looking through random posts and “liking” funny memes. It’s not that this is a bad thing as we all need a break sometimes, but that our time could be spent more wisely. Like, really relaxing!
The Week of Positivity
Instead of tuning out, you can tune in to positivity! Wake up and start your day with positive mantras like:
Today will be a wonderful day
I am in charge of my life and my happiness
I deserve to be loved and I will find someone special
During the day if you feel tempted to b*tch or moan, turn that negative thought into a positive, like:
My plans were canceled with a friend, so now I can go do something special for me!
My boss gave me critical feedback—now I can be even better at my job.
Make sure each day, you are shutting down or blocking any negative people and if you can’t physically do that, turn each negative thought into a positive. It will take work and at some points, you may feel dumb doing this, but you need to try to get the benefits.<
The Evening Walk
Whether you’ve got two kids or four kids, make a pledge to take an evening walk for a week. No tech, no fanfare, just great conversation with your family. If you’re going solo, you can always ask a friend to join you for your walks with the goal of 0% phone searching and 100% great talks with people you love.<
If you’d prefer to be alone, use the time to simply take deep breaths and note your environment. Shrug off the day’s stresses and try to appreciate the fact that you are healthy and living!
The “Highlight of Your Life” Meditation
Take time this summer each day, for as long as you can reasonably meditate whether for five minutes or a half an hour, to envision the “highlights of your life,” especially the ones who haven’t happened yet! Working towards a career goal? Meditate and envision it happening. Looking for love? Envision meeting “the one.”Trying to pay down debt? Envision money falling from the skies. Make it a point to meditate each day to take yourself away from the chaos of life and “bring” yourself to a better place.
The Dating Break
Currently, I am taking a total break from dating. Unless Mr. Right comes over and sweeps me off my feet, I am not looking or trying to date.
Maybe this is you? Maybe you need a mental break from swiping left or right and the chaos of online dating. Maybe you need to just focus on yourself or your kids. Maybe you have bigger goals than meeting a hot smart and nice hunk.
Take the summer to eliminate the pressure of dating and simply just enjoy being with your loved ones.
Looking for a sort-of vacation? Try these two ideas …
The Solo Getaway
I’ve spent a lot of time dating and chatting away with different dates the past few years, and I am sure many of you have as well. But, how much time have you spent with yourself really listening to yourself, your body’s (and heart’s) needs? I spent many a summer day last year on a beach alone talking to myself, (in my mind, not aloud—although sometimes it’s tempting) allowing myself to both feel and process things that were going on in my life.
Taking a solo getaway for a night or two could be just the way to recharge and get your goals and priorities in order. Even if you’re on a budget, you could rent a hotel room for a night and order room service. Or, go super budget and just turn off your phone and laptop, and head for the park for the day—maybe even camp out somewhere.
The Girls’ Weekend
Pack up a bag and go visit a girlfriend or if the budget allows, get the girls together and rent a room!
Take time with your friends to recharge your energies, have fun and relax. Sometimes, all you need is time with the people you love to feel like a better “you.”
The reality is summer is supposed to be a time where people relax and let loose a little. Don’t let your divorce, single status, financial hardships or any of life’s troubles take away from the joy of summer. You can’t always be sunshine and happiness, but try to remember the pleasures of summer like you did when you were a kid. Your heart and mind need it!
About the Author
Laura Lifshitz is a pint-sized, battery-operated writer, comedienne, single mother and chocolate fanatic. A former MTV personality and Columbia University graduate, you can find her work in many places, like the New York Times, DivorceForce, Mom.Me, Women’s Health, Worthy, Working Mother and numerous other sites. Follow her on Facebook and her own website, frommtvtomommy.com.