Everyone knows that summer is prime time to “live it out,” and there are thousands upon thousands of articles available on the internet to prove it. However, one thing that isn’t often discussed is that driving down to the coast in a rented vintage car with your friends, or hopping from one high-end concert to the next every other night, can get pretty costly, not to mention just plain exhausting.
But here are 12 relatively simple and relaxing ways to spend your suddenly abundant free time, while still making the most of the joyous and nonchalant spirit that characterises the season. Let the summer of your dreams commence!
1. Explore the great outdoors
If you were to take one look at me, you wouldn’t catch even a whiff of “outdoorsy,” yet I cannot seem to recommend going out into nature enough. Despite my constantly forgetting to put on sunblock to combat my country’s sweltering heat, my fear of bugs that is powerful enough to make me shamelessly flee a room, and my refusal to wear “practical” shoes, I’m always down for a good walk around the neighbourhood or a chill reading session under a tree. But walking and sitting around aren’t even close to covering just how much you can actually do outside.
Here are some other ideas:
- Try out some scenic yoga
- Cool off at the nearest pool
- Outdoor concert nearby? Go for it!
- Ponder the mysteries of the universe as you watch the sunrise
- Get obsessed with plants and become a Plant Parent— it's a title in itself
2. Craft the playlist you didn't know you needed
My music taste is... well, subpar, but even I can get a kick out of putting together a pretty decent playlist. Something I like toying around with that brings a little more variety and challenge to the process is using this Random Word Generator. I let whatever word that pops up first serve as the foundation of my playlist, which basically means that every song should be related to it in one way or another. Try it out now; you may just assemble your next go-to lineup!
3. Get social
Everyone knows that spending time with good company is the perfect way to loosen up and have fun, as well as get support or comfort when needed. I mean, what's summer without your best friends by your side? But with everyone scattering all over the country or the globe for a couple of months, finding common time to spend with your go-tos may not be as easy as it was during the school year.
It's important, then, to be conscious when planning out when, where, and how you'll keep your social life up during the summer, because, despite all the glorious days and cozy nights, the season actually can get a tad bit lonely. The good news is that doing so isn’t an impossible task!
I think of myself as the quintessential ambivert, because if not, I’m either the most talkative introvert or the shyest extrovert out there. The point is that I’ve got a good general understanding of both ends of the spectrum, and I therefore know two things: one, that social interaction with a decent variety of people is incredibly important, and two, that it can be a pretty difficult thing to actually live out. So here are some simple ways to get— or stay— social throughout summertime:
- Make compliments-giving a habit
- Prep some interesting conversation and small talk topics
- If you’re hesitant to reach out to them, just do it
4. Do a little something for the community
Volunteering is an incredibly fulfilling activity to pick up, and opportunities aren't too hard to come across. I know a lot of you would groan at the prospect of spending your precious summer days holed up in one place, either sweating in the heat or bored out of your mind. But trust me, if you’re dreading doing a little bit of service, you likely just haven’t found your cause yet. Once you do, you'll be eager to get going.
Need ideas? SignUpGenius offers 65 amazingly simple ones you’ve got to check out. Our very own writers also bring some great perspectives and ideas to the table in the following pieces:
- Volunteer by Heart, Not by Demand
- How to Volunteer Amidst a Pandemic
- 8 At-Home Volunteer Opportunities to Check Off Your Required Hours
Besides helping those who need it and improving the community around you, doing something good for others gives you a sense of fulfillment and inner peace that can rarely be found anywhere else. It’s perfect for those striving for both a relaxing and productive break!
5. Go on an aesthetic vlog binge
As a junior who will be applying to colleges in just a few short months, my latest obsession has been watching aesthetic university vlogs. There are so many things I love about them: getting to witness the beauty of different campuses, seeing the realities of the colleges’ facilities and student lives up close and personal, receiving motivation to work harder to get there, and so much more.
Watching these seemingly simple videos is what relaxes me the most. Whenever I’m stressed, anxious, or exhausted, I just replay my favourite ones and either watch them wistfully or let them run in the background. They’re sure to calm me down in no time.
Some of my favourite university vloggers include Yale University’s Tan Yi, Harvard University’s Bella, and University College London’s Esther Lee. It's clear that I prefer university vlogs that are more scenery, less talk, but for general aesthetic living, I do still love Hannah Meloche and Eva Meloche!
6. Read light
I know that many of us love the challenge and sense of profoundness that comes with grabbing a classic and picking apart its details, yet to me, summertime not only screams reading, but light reading. Any entertaining work with a not-so-complex plot that you could breeze through in a day or two definitely falls under this category. It goes perfectly with warm breezes, a glass of lemonade, and cumulus cloud days. It’s a “must” for giving you the carefree and happy vibes that are just so distinctly summer.
@_destinyshae This is basically a book account now and I will not apologize. 🤍📖#booktok#bookish#summerbooks#colleenhoover#bookrecs#romancebooks#emilyhenry#bookaesthetic#reading#bookcontent#bookobssessed ♬ original sound - bella
Some of my favourite “light reads” that you’ve likely seen on BookTok include:
- The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han
- Wonder by R. J. Palacio
- Today, Tonight, Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon
- Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
- Better than the Movies by Lynn Painter
- Her Royal Highness by Rachel Hawkins
- Heartstopper by Alice Oseman
I'm clearly a YA romance kind of girl, but you should 100% keep in mind that not all romances are light reads, and definitely not all light reads are romances.
7. Classic film marathon, anyone?
Need I say more? Pull up whatever classic or iconic film you haven’t watched, grab some snacks, draw the curtains, put on a scented candle or two, bring in the A.C., and swaddle yourself. Swaddling’s a necessity, because movie marathons aren’t complete without a warm and fuzzy blanket wrapped around your shoulders.
Want some drama and crime? Go for The Godfather. Some true classics? Breakfast at Tiffany’s or Casablanca. Action and adventure? Jurassic Park, of course! Wholesome romance? Flipped, definitely. What about a tearjerker? Bridge to Terabithia.
Summer's all about feeling as if you've got all the time in the world, and spending a full day just lazing about in the cool and dark comfort of your room is the perfect way to prove that.
8. Window shop, even if it's online
Don’t let a near-empty bank account keep you from the brilliance of window shopping! Whether it be ambling past row after row of stores at your nearest mall, or taking a virtual stroll through the latest your favourite online shop has to offer, pull up your dream shopping cart without a second thought. Some awesome things you could “purchase” include:
- Squishmallows, because they’re absolutely adorable
- Clothes or cosmetics, of course, for that idealistic summer glam
- Cute collectibles, like stickers and cheap jewellery, from small Etsy shops
9. Whip up a random snack
Everybody’s tried out cooking or baking something new at least once in their lives. My experiences are irrefutable testaments to the fact that a good number of them usually end in total disaster. However, when with friends, disasters and messes are almost always synonymous with fun, and summer is the perfect time to get messy, make mistakes, and try out new things around the house. Even if you fail, you’ll likely end up with some unidentifiable mixture that tastes suspiciously good.
Writers at The Teen Magazine definitely have got you covered when it comes to recipes, may they be for meals, snacks, or drinks! Call some friends over and try a few of them out today:
- 9 Easy Summer Recipes to Start Enjoying Now
- 5 Simple Recipes for When You Haven’t Shopped in 2 Weeks
- Mouthwateringly Healthy Deserts [sic] Recipes You Need to Try
- Beat the Heat: Top 5 Summer Drink Recipes to Get You Through This Summer
10. Make photography your best friend
Oh, but the possibilities are endless! Photographs are a foolproof way of looking back on or preserving amazing memories, and if there were a recipe for the ultimate mood-changer, a good snapshot is definitely on there. Try:
- Doing the Polaroid-a-Day Challenge
- Downloading the Locket app with friends
- Looking back at old family photo albums, detective-style
Capture the best and brightest of your summer. When your future kids or any new friends ask how you lived in the "early 20s," you definitely won't regret following this tip. What better time than summer to show yourself and others what life's all about?
11. Give your living space a new look
With everyone trying to elevate themselves and “glow up” physically, mentally, and emotionally during the summer, it can’t hurt to let your primary environment reflect this change! Keep in mind that this can range from even the simplest of poster or furniture replacements to full-on renovations— either is perfectly fine, because this is all about you.
Having a room with a design you truly love and feel comfortable in does wonders for your overall wellbeing. After all, it is the first thing you see when you wake up, which means it’s integral in setting the mood for the rest of the day. Additionally, planning and carrying out a makeover of your living quarters gives you a sense of control that honestly cannot be topped!
Here are some great tips to keep in mind when redecorating your area:
- Keep it simple
- Plan your budget
- Don’t forget the accents
- When in doubt, draw it out
- Come up with a central scheme, and stick with it
12. Write a letter to your future self
Summer is the perfect time to simply be in the moment and have the time of your life. However, that doesn’t mean you also can’t spend some of it thinking about your future self and the kind of person you’d like them to be. All this free time and peace of mind is definitely conducive to self-reflection.
Writing a letter to the version of you that will exist at some point or another in the future is so amazing, because it benefits “both” parties: you get to reflect on your hopes, your goals, and the concrete steps you’d like to take to get there, whereas Future You gets to see how far they have come and just how much their efforts have paid off. You could do this step physically by writing it down in longhand and storing it away someplace safe, or you could use FutureMe and have it sent to your email address at the time of your choosing!
Extravagance is never a requirement for The Perfect Summer. The season's all about carefree laughter, cool breezes, and refreshing sips of lemonade, not about who can spend the most in two months. These tips are just some of the many ways you can spend your days simply and easily, yet still make the most of each one.