The summer is a nostalgic time of year where we hope to experience a more leisurely pace, have a chance to spend some time in the sun and take advantage of opportunities to get out to the beach or mountains. Many of us enjoy getting some vegetables out of the garden or taking longer walks in the evening. The tragedy is that for so many of us, we continue to work as many hours as we do throughout the rest of the year, never making time to get that suntan we hoped for or scheduling that camping weekend. If you’re realizing the fact that it’s already August and you’ve not done nearly enough of the fun summer activities you planned to do, keep reading. There’s still time to have a fantastic summer ahead.
1. Go for a walk barefoot in the grass
There’s emerging science that highlights the benefit of being barefoot outside- is otherwise known as Earthing, and can help reduce anxiety and boost endorphins. Plus, cool green grass just feels good on the feet.
2. Eat breakfast on the deck or patio
If you have a morning where you can enjoy a more leisurely pace, it’s great to take advantage of summer’s milder temps to sit outside while eating. If you don’t have an area in your home to eat outside, enjoy a meal out a a local restaurant with outdoor seating. Listen to the birds or watch the clouds; it’s a completely different experience than sitting at the kitchen table.
3. Spend some time out on the water
Who doesn’t love cooling off by playing in the water? Plus the water has such soothing and relaxing energy. There are so many options suitable for many different tastes. Get poolside or beach bound while also getting some rays. Or what about kayaking, canoeing at the lake? If you have young ones, consider a trip to the water park or white water rafting for a little more adventure. For me, I’ve got a date to do a stand up paddle board yoga class next week.
4. Pick your own berries
I know it seems like extra work to pick all the fruit before buying it, but think of the side benefits: getting fresh air, spending time with family or friends, getting exercise, and a few tastes of fruit in prime season. Also consider the satisfaction of looking at 10 pounds of hand picked berries on your kitchen counter just waiting to be put to good use. And pick your own orchards usually boast the lowest price you’ll find all year for your favorite fruits. Even though it’s August, you may still be able to get in on some blueberry picking this weekend!
5. Go Hiking
Even if you don’t live close to mountains, many cities have nearby park areas where you can take a day hike. Take the dog or the kids and make a day of it. Bring a little picnic with you and enjoy a fresh perspective of the land from atop a 14 footer or a fire tower.
6. Sleep outside
Not everyone is up for camping, sleeping on the hard ground isn’t exactly pleasurable. Though finding a soft mossy spot or using an inflatable pad can help things. However, consider taking a nap in a hammock or under the umbrella at the beach or pool. There’s just something about listening to the sounds of nature as you come in and out of consciousness that soothes our biorhythms and eases the stress of day to day life.
7. Make a recipe with fresh tomatoes
One of the reasons I garden in the summer is to get a yard filled with juicy tomatoes! I’m never short on recipes and if even I’m getting overloaded, making a salsa, a tomato sauce or drying them in the dehydrator are favorite ways to use them up. One thing that happens towards the fall is that many tomatoes are left green on the vine. If you need help avoiding the waste of green tomatoes, check out my recipe here: Paleo Fried Green Tomatoes.
8. Go for an early morning walk or late evening stroll
Another way to take advantage of longer days and milder temperatures overnight is to get out early for a brisk walk, before breakfast. You’ll capitalize on your fasted state to promote additional fat burning. Or if morning are cramped, a leisurely evening stroll can help with circulation and unwind for the evening without involving television and chips.
9. Watch a movie on the lawn
How awesome were the days of Drive-In theaters where you could spread out a blanket and picnic while watching a blockbuster film? These days the relics of Drive-Ins are just about gone, but you can still enjoy outdoor viewing with a projector and white sheet set up. Many communities also feature this on a slightly bigger scale, in park areas. Kids also love the excitement from being outside after dark. Any excuse to sip and munch while enjoying time with family and community brings “renting a movie” to a whole new level.
10. Spend a Saturday morning at the Farmer’s Market
Many farmer’s markets thrive in different seasons, but the summer season is typically the most bountiful. The buzzing energy from patrons examining home grown delicacies, the bags and crates of peaches, and fresh basil can produce aromas that make your head spin. You may find an unexpected bargain, but the satisfaction that knowing your spending money is going into the pockets of people in your local community makes this grocery trip worth taking.
11. Sit around the Campfire
Whether you’re telling ghost stories, jokes or old family tales, socially gathering around the fire is a past-time that goes back centuries. The warmth and mesmerizing flames, the campfire foods on a stick, everyone feels like a kid again when seating around the fire pit circle.
12. Make your own fruit popsicles or ice cream
Frozen treats never taste as good in the cooler months as they do in the heat of the summer. But frozen treats are even better when you make them yourself. Using fresh ingredients of the season, a delicious and even nutritious snack can be created with minimal work. Combine equal parts frozen berries and coconut milk cream in a food processor to create an instant dairy free ice cream. Feel free to add a touch of honey for extra sweetness.
13. Check out a local arboretum or garden
One of my favorite ways to get ideas about landscaping is to check out local arboretums and gardens. It’s one way to see what grows well in your area and see the potential available for your own yard. Plus the presence of butterflies, bees and birds add a nice touch to the experience.
14. Go to a Festival
There may be holidays all winter long, but summertime celebrations are in a league of their own. Depending on your region you might be able to find several reasons to get out and taste some good food, listen to some live music and people watch until your heart’s content. Picture a southern peach festival, a western barbecue festival, or mountain music festival or even your county fair and imagine the fun that awaits!
15. Take a stroll down the greenway, rail trail or bike path
If you’re lucky to have access to trail systems in your locale, why not get out there and use them? So many towns are converting old railway beds to bike paths and giving us the opportunity to get outside and exercise more. Outdoor exercise also decreases stress and anxiety from a boost of endorphins as well as being surrounded by the natural environment. If you don’t have a bike, try geocaching on the trails. It’s like the world’s largest GPS scavenger hunt and kids love it!
16. Spend some time at a nearby river to fish or explore
Gotta love that water element and the trickling sound of a stream running over rocks. There’s so much to discover, a complete ecosystem all of it’s own that can provide hours of curiosity, interest and respite away from busy city life.
17. Get ready for fall gardening
Not to jump ahead to the end of summer, but it’s nice to be prepared before the season is already upon you. Has it ever happened that you had the best intentions to plant one more thing in the fall, or get the garlic in or some mums or even a pot of basil, and then…poof it’s freezing outside already? Whether or not you got your summer garden together this year, there’s still time to feel like you have a green thumb this fall with hearty greens, ornamental cabbages or cold tolerant flowers. Don’t worry yet, there is still plenty of time to get out and enjoy some of summer’s best activities. Which ones do you plan to try? Did I leave out any of your favorites? Leave a note in the comments below.