How to cope with summer loneliness
As COVID-19 restrictions loosen up, it's normal to feel left behind as your friends pack their bags for summer camp or beach vacays. But you're not alone—though you may see Instagram photo spreads of all your pals having fun in the sun, *everyone* experiences summer loneliness at some point. Check out these ways to keep up safe contact with others and get yourself out of a summer slump.
Volunteer at your local library, animal shelter or food pantry
Sometimes, the easiest way to distract yourself when you're feeling down is to reach out and lend a hand to others. Getting involved in your community is a fantastic place to start—you can make new friends and support a cause at the same time, just like the Big Shot cast here. Think about what you love most, whether it's playing with animals or sorting books, and keep that in mind when you choose where to volunteer. You can even make it a weekly event!
Organize an afternoon of fun in your backyard
Dig out your old outdoor toys and sprinkler setup and turn your backyard into the new summer hot spot for the neighborhood kiddos. You can even make small versions of your favorite carnival games (ring toss, basketball throw) and award adorable prizes to the winners. Or, take inspo from Sophie Grace by planning a sweet summer picnic for your little cousins.
Not your thing? Sort through your old toys, books and games to see if you've outgrown any and can pass them on someone else. You'll feel proud knowing that your beloved Barbie or much-loved Monopoly Jr. game has a new life instead of being tossed in a dusty attic. Just be sure you ask your parents first before you set up a backyard bash or give away childhood mementos.
Plan a weekly game or movie night with the fam
Having an awesome activity to look foward to every week helps structure your summer—in the most satisfying way possible. Make it fun by taking turns picking the game or flick and having a different theme each week. Maybe you'll have taquitos (with extra salsa!) and play Ticket to Ride one Thursday. Or maybe you'll make your own homemade crêpes before falling in love with the City of Lights in Pixar's cooking flick Ratatouille. Bon appétit!
Explore and pursue your true passions
With so much more free time, summer is the perfect opportunity to spread your wings and test out something new. Always wanted to paint? Give it a shot with an inexpensive canvas (try your local dollar store) and acrylics. Curious about gardening? Pick up some seed packets and plant your own tomatoes, herbs, flowers and more, just like Aly Raisman. You can also try a new yoga routine, fall in love with a new book or master your tennis serve. Carve out dedicated time to explore your craft, learn more about it and improve your skills!
Visit a place you've never been to before
Make every day feel less like Groundhog Day by researching new bakeries or bookstores you could visit. Even if you just browse a local shop without buying anything, you'll still have a blast. Not comfortable going in stores yet? We totally get it—see if there's a new beach, state park or hiking trail that offers more open air and social distancing. Better yet? See if you can invite a potential new friend along, whether it's the girl who just moved to your street or the guy you always see at the library. Enjoying an afternoon in nature or sipping smoothies by the water will give you a low-stakes, no-pressure way to meet someone new.
How do you deal with summer loneliness? Tag us on Insta @girlslifemag and let us know!