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Summer Habits - What to do Instead of Nothing

With summer only two weeks away for everyone except seniors, there is a lot of anticipation for summer activities. Staying up late with sleeping in, free time, and nice weather…anything could happen. But how should we really spend this free time? Should any structure be kept? While over the summer we all should focus on relaxing and recharging, there are definitely certain habits I know I want to keep in place. Certain forms of structure are comfortable and I know that I am not alone in that fact. I know I personally don’t want to spend the summer doing nothing and come back thinking…what did I do over summer again? 


Time is not refundable; use it with intention. – Unknown 


It can be hard to figure out and navigate this productivity by yourself, so how should we fill the time? What are habits that should be solid and created? Here are some:


Sleep Schedule 

Summer really is and should be the time of rest. While sleeping in to rest your body is enjoyable, precautions should be taken. As it cannot become the norm for us all and can stop your body from waking up early in the future…don’t forget about school! Going hand in hand with that is staying up. I know this past year we have all had our moments of staying up late due to parties, being with friends, or even for a school thing. But, keeping consistent with sleep and your schedule is really what builds the strength in the first place. As well as creating a routine. That way you don’t lose your progress or momentum that you have built. Use this time to focus on yourself and your well being! Starting a sleep journal to keep track of it all isn't a bad idea either. Small goals are still goals!


Spending Time Outside 

We are lucky enough to live somewhere where we experience all four seasons. And while that can be a REAL pain in the winter, we are so lucky in the summer to have the sun. Spending time outside is so good for you and your both physical and mental health. Exposure to sunlight stimulates the production of vitamin D in the body, which is essential for maintaining a healthy body. Not only is it physically good for us, but mentally too. Time spent in natural settings has been shown to enhance cognitive function, including attention, memory, and creativity. Nature provides a stimulating environment that can improve focus and mental clarity. This past year it’s safe to say we all had our own stressors too. I know I did, and spending time outside in natural surroundings can promote relaxation and stress reduction. Activities such as walks/runs, swimming, or simply sitting in a park can help us unwind and recharge from the stress of life. It’s an easy thing to do and with all these positives, how could you not? 


The richness I achieve comes from Nature, the source of my inspiration. – Claude Monet


Travel 

Now when I say travel, I do not necessarily mean to fly across the world to Greece or anything like that. But if that is in your summer plans, good for you. Even just a roadtrip to Iowa City with your friends qualifies. There are so many fun things to do there from eating, shopping, or seeing sports…up to you! It is scientifically good for us to change the scenery every once in a while. Beyond the beautiful sights we can see and learning about cultural differences, a trip can change how you think. Stepping outside one's comfort zone creates experiences gained only from travel and new places. They linger in our memories, shaping perspectives. Whether going on a solo adventure or sharing experiences with loved ones, travel leaves an indelible mark. 


Spending Time With Loved Ones

Summer is a great time not only to build your already existing bonds, but to create new ones too. That may be with friends, a partner, family members, or anyone really. With the school year leaving no time even for yourself, it can be hard to find time to connect with people. Now, according to the Census Bureau's 2021 American Time Use Survey, Americans spend only two hours and 45 minutes a week with their friends. A decade ago, we spent more than twice as much time with our friends, an average of six and a half hours a week. Whether it's sharing a meal, engaging in conversation, or simply enjoying each other's company, the importance of these interactions cannot be over exaggerated. They offer a moment of peace from the stresses of life, a reminder of what truly matters, and a source of joy and comfort. And in the end, you won’t remember what was troubling you a year ago, but you will remember the laughs and smiles shared with those you love. 


Still Unsure? 

Still not sure EXACTLY how to fill the time? Here are some Ideas!


  • Getting a job 

  • Thrifting (see places for this in past Lance articles!) 

  • Swimming

  • Picking up drawing 

  • Get back into reading 

  • Grow a plant

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