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Caroline’s Favorite Things: 10 Tips to Kick-Start Your Summer!


The weather is warming up, and summer vacation is right around the corner! Summers are the perfect time for us to re-evaluate our normal routines, and make some healthier changes both on the outside and the inside. These pointers will be essential to staying active and productive during the lazy, hot months of summer. Some of us are heading home for family time and tanning, while others are gearing up for summer internships. Whatever your plans may be for this extended sunny holiday, here are some tips for a little lifestyle rejuvenation. 

1.     Figure Out an Exercise Routine 
Florida summers are not always easy to bear, and many of my friends like to use the heat as an excuse not to exercise. I agree that running outside can be unbearable, but swimming is an awesome alternative. Anyone who has ever taken up swimming knows this is the most efficient form of exercise. In other words, swimming uses every muscle of the body, and therefore shows its effects quicker. Not only will it get you huffing and puffing, but swimming is also a refreshing excuse to escape the squelching Florida heat. No matter what area of your body you are trying to tone for that “bikini bod,” swimming will get you there faster than most other exercises. Just prepare to be sore!

2.     Read! Read! Read! 
Reading should be considered a form of exercise for your mind. I know that sounds a little corny, but studies prove that recreational reading can increase aptitude levels in many areas of school-related testing. Reading is essentially a way to increase your retention for reading comprehension. Instead of sitting in front of the television for downtime, pick up a book. Just think: if you start building up a habit to read this summer, having to open that giant textbook next fall won’t be so grueling! Go check out the bookstore for some hot best-sellers!

3.     Get a Head Start on School 
I admit this will be the most unappealing of all my summer tips, but it is also the most useful. Here it goes: buy your textbooks for next fall now and start reading them this summer. I know it sounds awful, but my dad did this when he was in college, and he swears it was the only way he survived his engineering classes. My dad had a summer internship that mostly required him to sit at a desk all day. This atmosphere was perfect for him to start working the odd-numbered math problems from his calculus textbook. I know it is a rough notion to consider doing math during the months we are normally supposed to take a break from schoolwork. However, if you know at least one of your classes is going to be a killer next fall, I highly recommend taking a look at that textbook now. I think you’ll be surprised what a help it will be!

4.     Save Money and Splurge! 
If you don’t already have a summer job lined up, I recommend hunting for one! Even if it is minimum wage, any money is useful for having some extra spending cash. Keep in mind that it’s nice to find a job doing something you enjoy. Lifeguarding, counseling for kids’ summer camps, or even working at your favorite clothing store is the best way to make some cash without being tortured. I work at Ann Taylor Loft part-time during the summers. Even though I’m pretty pooped by the end of my shift, I really have fun consulting with customers and helping them put a cute outfit together. Not to mention I get an awesome employee discount…

After you’ve made a little dough, treat yourself to a fun purchase you’d normally avoid because it was too pricey. Splurging on a summer purchase is a great incentive to staying productive at work!

5.     Take a Class 
Summer is the time to explore the activities you normally do not have time for during the school year. Maybe you have been meaning to pick up an instrument or start painting again. Don’t let another year of resolutions go down the drain! Instead, schedule some classes to keep your creative juices flowing. Personally, I have been meaning to take an art class at a local art studio back home for quite some time. I absolutely love drawing and painting, so this summer is my chance! Plus, stretching your comfort zone is a lot easier when you have a friend willing to explore with you. Grab a buddy and take a fun class, so you’ll have a cool story to tell when people ask you what you did this summer.

6.     Explore Your Spiritual Self 
No matter your spiritual or religious beliefs, it is always rejuvenating to maintain a peaceful mindset. Summer is a stress-reliever because there are no grades or assignments to worry about. Take advantage of this calming energy and practice harnessing this peacefulness through activities that help you be the best version of yourself. Maybe it is a yoga class, or just church on Sunday. Either way, start loving yourself in a way that helps you love others.

7.     Lower Your Carbs 
I’m not going to bore you ladies on why it is important to lower carbohydrate intake. Dr. Oz has already told us all the benefits and it’s not worth it to exhaust you with the health benefits once more. However, monitoring your diet by logging it in a journal or simply being aware of what we put in our mouths is always a great way to become healthier. Starting healthy diet habits this summer will help you carry it over to Fall semester. It should be easier back home where there are no Midnight Cookies or late-night snacking. Studying makes us oh-so hungry.

8.     Clean Out Your Closet 
I guarantee there are articles of clothing sitting in your closet right now that you haven’t worn in over a year. They are just adding clutter to your closet, and it is time to get rid of them! It will be your good deed of the day to donate these clothes to charity and will contribute to your new sense of self. You may be surprised how many clothes you end up eliminating. While your closet may become overwhelmingly smaller than it used to be, that’s just an awesome excuse to do some shopping! And if you’re looking to shed a few pounds, use your limited closet as an incentive to work out and buy clothes for your new slim figure.

9.     Get a Tan! 
Make a day trip to the beach with some girlfriends. I have no ulterior “rejuvenating” motive in making this suggestion — just an idea for having fun! Feel the breeze on your face, the sand between your toes, and the spritz of salty ocean water. Every summer my family and I go to Siesta Key beach for a week, and it is honestly my favorite time of the year. I even love the typical afternoon thunderstorms that are perfect for curling up on the sofa with a good book and spreading aloe on your inevitable sunburn.

10.  Make A Vision Board 
Vision boards sound silly, but they are surprisingly helpful. If you haven’t heard of them before, vision boards are a way of visually communicating your goals for the upcoming year. It can take the form of pictures, words, or symbols that you place on a small poster board. If you’ve been going through a difficult time and need motivation, this a great activity to help you identify what it is you want for yourself.

To help give you an idea—my vision board for the upcoming fall semester would have the UF Nursing logo to represent my desire to get into nursing school, a dumbbell to signify my need to build a little muscle tone, and a map of Spain because I want to work towards studying abroad next summer. This type of collage is especially meaningful to create because it specifically pertains to your hopes and goals.

I hope you are inspired to relax and rejuvenate this summer!


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