Summer has finally arrived. And more so than ever, we are ready for it and the good times that it brings. There are so many great things about summer: long sunny days, school break for the kids, fun filled days at the beach, and adventurous family vacations to name a few. Summer means different things to different people. And this year we are entering a summer like no other. But whatever summer means for you — it can be an important time to reset, reconnect and recharge.
No doubt, we are still finding new ways to cope and adapt to the coronavirus pandemic. Unfortunately, many states are now seeing new spikes in daily cases. As a result, many structured activities for our kids have been canceled. Additionally, summer travel plans have been upended and the usual large social gatherings of bar-b-ques and pool parties now bring with them additional layers of stress.
As with all good things in life, summer always seems to pass too fast. And if we get caught up in the day to day stressors that the pandemic continues to throw our way, September will be knocking at our doorstep before we know it.
Summer has so many wonderful opportunities to offer in terms of boosting, mood, energy and mental clarity. We need the benefits that summer offers. And this year it seems like we might need to make more of a conscious effort to find those activities which regulate our stress levels. This is okay. So, whether you are looking for something active or relaxing, we have put together a list of the best summer activities to help alleviate the build- up of stress, worry and depression.
Making Plans To Look Forward To:
A key to happiness is having something to look forward to. Creating a calendar can serve as useful tool for visualizing just what you have to look forward to. But don’t get too caught up in planning every day or every second of every day. Spontaneity and stepping out of one’s comfort zone can add great benefits to emotional health. So be intentional with your calendar planning and leave room to enjoy the unexpected joys, little and big, that come your way.
Find Some Green:
Spending time outside is a natural stress free zone, that is easy on your wallet. The benefits of emerging yourself in nature are plenty. In fact, research shows that spending just 20-30 minutes in nature a day has real benefit for your mental health and physical well-being.
It doesn’t matter where you live. There are places in every corner of our great nation that offer the unique opportunity to get outdoors. And if hiking or swimming in the ocean isn’t your thing, you can get just as many benefits from sitting under a tree with a good book.
Farm Fresh: Find Some Healthy Treats at the Farmer’s Market:
One of my favorite summertime activities are my weekly trips to our neighborhood farmer’s market. Visiting the farm can be a relaxing trip in itself. Boosting your brain health and mood by discovering and incorporating new fruits and vegetables into your daily routine can have long lasting health benefits. And better yet, if your farm offers pick your own options take advantage of this fun activity. Spending the day quietly picking blueberries, tomatoes or whatever is in season is fantastic way to spend a summer day.
Stay Connected While Social Distancing:
Humans are social creatures. And the colder months, spent indoors, certainly left many of us feeling isolated and lonely. The warmer summer weather makes it easier and safer to stay connected with family and friends, while social distancing. And the opportunities are plenty! Make daily connection part of your summer routine. Start your morning with a walk with a friend. Organize Friday night dinners on your porch with a small group of people you miss. Celebrate the milestones that were postponed or canceled with family in a safe, outdoor setting. Be sure to find the time to reach out to those you love and miss this summer.
And although your summer travel plans may have been canceled and your suitcase sits empty in your closet. Spend your energy sending your stress packing instead. So, wave goodbye to your worries and enjoy this rejuvenating season and all it has to offer!