Hanging on to that summer feeling all year long

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"August is like the Sunday of summer."

- Unknown

The kids are back in school. For many of us, the beginning of the school year marks the official end of summer. Time to put away the swimsuits and sunscreen and get back to reality. Sigh...

There is nothing in the world like summer vacation. Many of us spend the whole preceding year planning, researching and crafting our perfect getaway.

Others, particularly lucky residents of the Lowcountry, are able to relax and recharge during a summer staycation.

What is so magical about the long summer days, and how can we keep just a little of that magic around for the rest of the year?

Here are some thoughts about infusing your day-to-day life with a bit of that summer feeling.

Obviously, a primary reason we enjoy vacation is our relative freedom from work or academic responsibilities. Unfortunately for most, those realities are there waiting for us at summer's end, unavoidable and indispensable. However, we can look at some parts of "vacation life" and try to incorporate them into "real life." Consider the following:

Spend time outdoors: Most vacations involve time outside such as going to the beach or pool, hiking, snorkeling, touring on foot or bird-watching, to name a few. It is known that time spent outside, exposed to natural light and the natural world, is a reliable mood booster.

Share meals with family and friends: On vacation we take the time to sit down, enjoy our meals and talk to our loved ones. We know that this practice cultivates a sense of connection and community.

Even if it isn't possible to do this every night during "real time," whenever we are able to sit down together for a meal we can enjoy a small taste of that vacation feeling.

Seek novel experience: Often, on vacation we travel to new places, try new activities or foods or view artistic creations in the world's museums.

You don't have to go to the Louvre or hike the Grand Canyon to feel you've tried something new. Visit a different farmers market, take an art class, or visit a new beach.

Experiencing new things and the learning associated with the experience can foster a sense of vitality and mental vigor.

Here's to finding your own little bit of endless summer.

Maria Malcolm, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist and associate with Psychological & Counseling Associates of the Lowcountry, LLC in Bluffton.

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Health & Wellness
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