Work-Life Balance: Prepping for “Summer Break”
Amber Carbo

Ahhh Summer.

Such a glorious season that is a huge part of our lives during our school years, from elementary all the way through college.

As many post-college grads know, there is no Summer vacation for most 9–5er’s. To help combat the ‘summer blues’ you may sometimes feel sitting in the office, here are some tips on how to prep for the many activities and adventures that await! Especially for those of us no longer enjoying three long months away from the desk.

With the start of a career, there inevitably comes a period of time where work is a top priority, and many young professionals have the drive to excel in their newfound job. As some of your classmates may be taking time off to travel or staying behind in college to further their education, you may find yourself in….yes….the dreaded cubicle.

As you prep for another ‘no-break Summer’, there’s still plenty of ways to enjoy summer adventures while juggling a full-time job.

Early Morning Hikes & After Hours Adventures

Routines can be hard to break, especially if you are not a morning person! That being said, there are valuable daylight hours that we can make the most of in order to increase our time outdoors and keep ourselves healthy all-around.

Whether you start work at 7, 8, or 9am, you can always find time to get in a sunrise hike or a quick jog around the park pre-work. Even those of us living in big cities often have some walking or hiking trails close enough to spend 30–45 minutes outdoors prior to our 9–10 hours typically spent inside the office.

Even our lunch breaks can be seen as an opporutnity for adventure!

A good friend and co-worker of mine have a fun tradition of going out to lunch once per week to catch up and hang out. Every Monday we leave work at 12, drive 2 miles to the beach, set up our picnic and even jump in the ocean sometimes!

We have timed this mini-adventure to perfection and usually arrive back to the office between 1:00 - 1:10pm.

PTO & Paid Holidays Are THE BEST.

(PTO — Paid. Time. Off.)

Nothing is more beautiful than basking in the summer sun on a Monday and knowing full well that you are getting PAID. Many companies of all sizes and industries offer paid time off. From 3 days a year to 21 days a year, your exact amount is up to your employer.

I’ve found the best way to make of these precious days is to accrue up to 3–4 and use them next to a vacation. Which brings me to holidays.

Most companies are required to offer some U.S. Holidays as paid. Examples would be Christmas Day, New Year’s, Independence Day, and Veteran’s Day. One of my favorite vacation tips is to use one or two vacation days next to one of these paid days off.

For instance, my work gives us 4th of July off, which usually falls on a random weekday like a Tuesday or Wednesday. To maximize this one day off, I will request PTO for the days preceding or following the holiday.

Micro-Vacations & Short Work Weeks: Yes Please!

Rather than plan a longer, more taxing two week trip, consider planning several micro-vacations throughout the year. I have found this really helps me with burn-out and I still feel that 4–7 days is a long enough time to come back feeling rejuvinated.

Planning a shorter vacation also will cost you less money and has even been shown to increase work productivity! Just ask our European cousins (CNBC).

This idea goes hand-in-hand with the “Short Week Technique.”

Instead of taking Monday through Friday off — try out this idea: Short work weeks. Fridays are super busy travel days, so instead of traveling on a Friday try scheduling a vacation Thursday through Tuesday. This only requires 4 vacation days (less than a full 5 for a whole work week), and allows you to maximize the weekend.

Planning this way, would give you not one, but two, short work weeks!

Suffer the Jet Lag in the Office

Let’s start by pointing out that not every profession can afford to do this. If you are a doctor, a chemist, an engineer, or a construction worker please do not attempt to go to work on little sleep!

Any job that required attention, other people’s lives, or other people’s money should always be taken seriously. For those who can afford to, it may be worth it to just get straight back to work once you arrive home from a long trip.

I do this with long trips, such as overseas adventures, in order to save myself the one extra day that some may use to rest and relax after a 14 hour flight. It’s not always fun but I just grab an extra cup of coffee and grin and bear it so I can get right back to work and not spend a PTO day being jet-lagged.

Adventure Commuting

The term “commute” usually brings to mind crowded highways and too much time spent in the car.

This doesn’t have to be all your daily commute is though! Look for ways to incorporate the outdoors into your daily travel time.

Photo by Adrian Williams

For example, even if you need to go far for work, you can bike halfway then take public transit. Or maybe you are lucky enough to be able to walk or jog your way into the office!

Lastly, even carpooling can be an adventure, and gives you an opportunity to meet fellow co-workers that may be up for some after hours activities too!

Most importantly…. ENJOY THE JOURNEY!

No matter where you are in life or how much time away from work you get, just remember you can make every day an adventure and don’t just need to hold out for those two weeks of planned vacation per year.

I hope these tips help you in your day-to-day, and remind you that we do have control over how much we prioritize getting outside and living it up! You don’t need three months off to enjoy your Summer.

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Adventure Aide is a mobile app for you to find unique adventures near you, connect with cool people, and get outside. Download the app.