What does summertime mean to you? Do you picture yourself lying on the sand at the beach or swimming in the pool? Does your family always take a vacation in the summer, or do you have tasty backyard cookouts together? When I think of summer, I envision myself spending as much time as possible outside enjoying the sunshine and warm weather. Summer is my favorite season because there is more daylight, meaning that there is more time to do fun activities!
As a kid, I was always busy during the summer. My mom made sure that my brother and I had plenty of activities to participate in. I was very active in the swimming and diving team at our community pool and my brother played competitive soccer. We also went to YMCA day camps, girl scout and boy scout camp and we also played outside with the other neighborhood kids. Now that I am an adult, my summers aren’t as busy or active but I still try to make the most out of my days and try to stay cool.
Here are four things that help me make the most of long summer days:
CLEAR YOUR SCHEDULE
If it’s the weekend or I have a day or two off from work, my schedule is usually filled with things that I want to get accomplished. From cleaning my home to tending my garden or spending time with my family, I try to fit in as much as I can into one day. I like to be busy and feel productive, but what I learned is that being busy isn’t always a good thing. Sometimes, it’s beneficial to have an open schedule to allow for rest and relaxation.
Summer is a time for slow and easy, a time to catch our breath, reconnect, and just enjoy the ordinary beauty of full trees, puffy clouds, and ice cream stained faces. Yes, work goes on and responsibilities still loom, but this summer I will be intentional in keeping my calendar empty and my evenings slow and enjoyable.
PUT YOUR PHONE DOWN
We are all guilty of being on our phones too much. I try my best to not stare at Twitter or my email all day long, but it’s hard nowadays being these devices and apps are a part of our lives. It’s unreasonable to unplug for the whole summer unless you live in the middle of nowhere and no one ever contacts you. But maybe try to put my phone down in another room during the evening so that you’re not tempted to look at it. I like to use that phone-free time that I have to do other activities like reading, painting, going for a walk outside, coloring, or playing with my cats.
SOAK UP THE SUN
I love being able to leave my house at any time from 6 am to 9 pm and know that the sun will still be shining. There is so much daylight during summer that I feel guilty not going out to enjoy the nice warm weather. Since I spend most of my day inside an office building at work, I make an effort to go outside in the evening for long walks or to read a book on the patio. On the weekends I hate being inside unless it’s pouring rain outside. I will go on a hike, tan by the pool, go to the beach or lake, prune my garden, have a barbecue, or literally just lay in the grass enjoying nature.
CREATE NEW MEMORIES
Every summer my family would take a trip to Ocean City, New Jersey to enjoy the sand and ocean. I have amazing memories and actually still try to go to that same beach every year! We would also take other vacations during the summer to places like the Grand Canyon, Niagra Falls, and Disney World. I love traveling during the summer but you don’t have to go very far from home to create new summertime memories. You can play games at a local park, go swimming in a lake, camp in a tent in the backyard or try a new restaurant every week. If you have kids you can have water balloon fights, scavenger hunts, or movie nights in the backyard. I did all of these activities as a kid and loved every minute of it.