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How To Enjoy Summer Even When You Work A 9-5

Sweet, sweet summertime. A time for living life freely, getting away from the mundane nuances of every day life, and enjoying yourself. But how can you do this when you work a 9-5 job?

It’s no secret that once you graduate and enter into the “real world,” your summers become different. You no longer can do what you want, when you want. It becomes more of a balancing act of trying to take advantage of your summer and the warm weather, all while still being loyal to your work commitments.

How much easier it would be if we all had summers off, too!

However for many of us, that is not a reality and has not been since we were still students. When you work a 9-5, that means you are working throughout the summer. Some offices may be kind and give summer Fridays, but this is not mandated and does not happen everywhere.

It can become hard to enjoy the summer, when you’re stuck at your desk. Is there anything worse than taking a little social media break and seeing yet another person posting a picture on a boat in the Mediterranean while you are staring at spreadsheets? But… you can be that person, too. It just takes a bit more planning.

How To Enjoy Summer Even When You Work A 9-5

1. Use your paid time off.

If you work a 9-5, you have paid time off. Use this time!!

For many offices, summer is a bit more of a quiet time, making it a good time for you to take time off without having to worry about as many projects or deadlines.

Do not be afraid to ask for time off — there are yours to take and to use as you please. Just make sure that you are staying within your allocated number of days and that you are not planning to get away in the midst of any deadlines you may have. Break out your bikini swimsuits and enjoy the warm weather!

Waking up on a Monday morning and not going into the office, whether it’s because you are away on an island or doing a little staycation at your home, is a beautiful feeling.

Related: Why It’s OK To Use Your PTO For Mental Health Days

2. Take advantage of weekend trips.

For many, if you are working a 9-5, you have Saturday and Sunday off. The summer is the perfect time to take a weekend getaway.

These are easy to plan, and you usually do not have to take any days off from work to take advantage. You can leave after work on Friday or early Saturday morning and still have ample time to enjoy your mini vacation.

This is a good way to take advantage of all of the places driving distance from you too. Is there a beach town an hour away? Go for it. Want to spend the weekend camping an hour and a half away? Go for it. These are all great ways to enjoy your summer, and you won’t even have to worry at all about leaving work behind.

Related: Why You Should Take a Weekend Girls’ Trip This Summer

3. Take your lunch break outside.

Instead of sitting in your office’s kitchen, go outside during your lunch break! Feel the sun on your skin. It can make all the difference in your workday.

If you are a bookworm like myself, bring a book to work and spend part (or all) of your break sitting outside reading. Eat your lunch outside. Go to a local restaurant with outdoor seating and have lunch there. Take a walk around the block. If the weather is nice, get outside!

How To Enjoy Summer Even When You Work A 9-5

4. Plan more happy hours. 

In the winter, most people get out of work and just want to go home. In the summer however, it is much easier to convince colleagues to grab a drink (or dinner!) after work. Make plans to do this frequently. Go to the local bar or restaurant and get your mind off of work.

If there is a rooftop bar near you, take advantage of that. The days are longer and warmer, which means you can still enjoy the sun and warm weather even after 5 PM. Don’t forget this! The day does not have to end anymore once you step out of work. There are more hours of daytime for you.

Summers do change when you start working full-time, especially if you have a stereotypical 9-5 office job. But, that does not mean that they have to stink. There are still ways in which you can enjoy your summer, because you should! Use your paid time off and plan that vacation. Get outside during your workday more (even if it’s just for five minutes). Make more plans for after work and for the weekend.

The above are just a few ways for you to take advantage of summer (and some ways that I have personally enjoyed my summers the past few years). Do you have any other ways in which you enjoy your summer despite having a 9-5? Tell us in the comments, as we want to enjoy them too!

About the Author

Michelle Ioannou

Michelle graduated from Fordham University with a Bachelors of Arts '13 and a Master of Arts '14. She's currently working in corporate America with a side of freelance writing. She wants you to learn from her experiences and mistakes so your 20s can be your best decade. When she's not working, she's likely planning her escape to a tropical island.