Many of us take time off of work during the summer to get away, disconnect from work, and spend time with the ones we love. We often feel more in touch with ourselves and our relationships when we take this time to be together. Once the long summer days fade away, however, it can feel like we enter a slump where the work days take over again, and the time when spend with our partners and loved ones becomes less and less frequent. Below are 9 ways to stay connected to your partner after your summer vacation is over and you both are back to the “real world.”

1. Set up a date night. Take turns picking a place to go or an activity to do together once a week. It does not have to be elaborate or expensive, but rather it is a way to stay in contact and detach from the rest of your life.

2. Make screen-free time a part of daily life. In order to really connect with your partner, you cannot be distracted by your digital devices. At least one hour before bed, disconnect from your digital devices and reconnect with your partner.

3. Take road trips. Perhaps you pick a few weekends this fall and winter to take a day-long road trip to a nearby town or attraction. Make this a time to disengage from other obligations and simply focus on one another.

4. Get outside. Although it is getting colder outside and the days are shorter, try to find time to be outdoors together like you did in the summer. Bundle up and take a walk after dinner or sit on your porch under a blanket and have some tea.

5. Keep communicating. Although you may not have long stretches of time off, you can still carve out small portions of your day to stay in contact. Send emails, leave sweet notes, or make phone calls during the busy work days just to send your love to one another.

6. Stay social. Make an effort to continue to get together with other people even after the summer draws to a close. Go out to dinner with friends, host a party, or get a group together for a fun activity.

7. Find what is happening in your area. It can be very easy to find something to do in your community in the summer. Fairs, concerts, and sports are easily accessible during these warmer months. Rise to the challenge and find something in your community in the post-summer months that can keep you busy and active.

8. Engage in self-care. The summertime and summer vacations are often conducive to many aspects of self-care that fall away as the year progresses. Be mindful that you keep trying to get enough sleep, exercise, and healthy nutrition even after the summer ends.

9. Plan something enjoyable for your next summer vacation. Talk about what you enjoyed about your summer this year and try to replicate it for the year to come. Reminisce about your favorite activities, and then share in the excitement of a new adventure for the following summer.

Contributed by Staff Therapist, Rachel Goldsmith