As fun as summer is, it can be very anxiety-inducing. With all the freedom we craved during the hours and hours of lessons and schoolwork over the past year, summer should be a time to take a break from rigor or structure; however, with the new free time also comes the feeling that we are never doing enough to make the most of our time.
Every waking hour that we’re not living our most Instagram-worthy coming-of-age movie-like life feels like a failure. Especially since this year will be the “post-vaccine summer” and most of us were stuck at home last summer, there is even more pressure for these next few months matter.
So, I’ve compiled a list of fun things to do this summer to take some of the pressure off planning *summer*.
1. Create a collaborative playlist with a friend and stream it with the windows down at sunset.
Seriously, I don’t know if there’s anything more cliché than going through a tunnel or driving down a highway with the wind in your hair and Grouplove’s Tongue Tied playing, but it’s the epitome of summer for one reason: it’s fun, it’s easy (if you or your friends can’t drive yet, find a fun place to ride your bike and sync your headphones!), and it’s one of the most popular activities exciting after finally getting your license.
And, you don’t have to live right off the Pacific Coast Highway to do it – even the smallest of towns or the ugliest of roads works because what makes this a fun time is the music. and the company.
2. Get out in the park with a hammock and good food.
Hammocks are surprisingly inexpensive, but are a really fun way to spend time at the park. You can also play spike ball, slackline, throw volleyball or read.
3. Find a nearby town and explore.
When we think of visiting new places, we think of airplanes (or at least a road trip). However, there is so much to see close to home that we didn’t take advantage of.
Even the smallest towns have interesting and quirky town centers to explore. Chances are you’ll find something exciting, and it’s never a bad idea to explore something new.
4. Go to the fair.
Not every city has a fair, but if you’re lucky enough to live somewhere that does, you should definitely take advantage of it. It’s a great place to hang out with friends and even meet new people you wouldn’t otherwise have.
5. Go cliff jumping!
Cliff jumping is probably my favorite summer activity. Obviously this will vary depending on where you live, but you can browse the internet somewhere within 30 minutes where there is a ledge to jump into the water (safely, of course).
6. Find a new workout routine.
With our mornings now freer, summer is the perfect time to develop a fun and enjoyable new workout routine. Whether you’re trying a new class like Pilates or the Soul Cycle, finding that perfect new fitness Youtuber, or finally starting to run like you’ve been saying for months (yes, my name is), in finding a kind of structured and disciplined self-improvement is nice to balance the freedom of summer.
7. Watch the sunrise (or sunset).
8. Go swimming at night.
For some reason, swimming at night is a totally different experience than swimming during the day. Personally, I think heated pools would probably be better than a lake or the ocean, both for safety and temperature reasons.
Reading is so much more enjoyable when it’s not imposed by school. Find a book by a politician or public figure you admire, dive into compelling fiction, or learn about something scientific that fascinates you.
It doesn’t sound nice, but after a few minutes of pretending you like reading, you’ll honestly start to like it.
I hope this list gives you some fun ideas and eases any anxiety surrounding the pressure to make summer as perfect as possible.
Remember that social media and movies show the highlights of the summer, so it’s only fitting that not all instances of June, July and August are the best candidates for the summer explore page. ‘Instagram.
Summer is supposed to be fun: the second we give up trying to make it perfect is the second we can really have fun. Now get off the internet and have fun!!