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Can't afford to travel this summer? Take a mental vacation instead.

At long last, summer is in full swing! With schools closed, pools and beaches open and the sun out in full strength, people all across the country are mapping out their vacations for the next few months. After all, what better time of year to take a break from the daily grind and embark on a trip somewhere than the summer?

Unfortunately, not everyone is so lucky. Whether due to prior obligations, a lack of disposable income or just not enough vacation days saved up, there are plenty of us who simply aren't able to take advantage of the vacation season this year. 

But even if you can't afford traveling somewhere in the summer, it's still crucial to take some kind of vacation. Studies have shown that taking trips are important for rejuvenating brain health and keeping stress levels down. If you're not able to take a physical vacation elsewhere this year, why not try a mental vacation? With the days getting longer and the weather getting warmer, there are plenty of cheap and easy ways for you to enjoy the outdoors without having to indulge on expensive interstate or international trips.

The healthy living website Care2 has outlined a few recommendations for some ideal mental vacations this summer:

  • Go to the movies with some friends: Summer isn't just vacation season, it's also primetime for some of the year's biggest blockbusters and comedies! Go out with your friends one night to check out a new movie or two. Best of all? Air-conditioned theaters.
  • Hang around outside: No other season affords you the luxury of just laying around comfortably outside like summer does. Sitting by the garden, laying out at the beach or kicking back to do some late-night stargazing are all great ways of taking time out from your plugged-in home and work lives and simply take in nature.
  • Host a game night: Have friends and family over for at least one night of the month for a round of games! Board games, card games, video games, bowling, miniature golf — whatever floats your boat! Some friendly competition with friends over old-favorite, nostalgia-rich games can provide some of the best fun of the season.
  • Take a hike: Walking or hiking along trails isn't just good exercise, it also helps keep your head clear. The warm summer breeze rolling through the woods coupled with the sunshine and the act of getting your feet moving can really get those endorphins going, helping to create feelings of peace and calm.

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