After the stress of finals, most of us are ready for some hardcore R&R this summer. But that can quickly turn into too much of a good thing when you realize you haven’t left your house in three days…so here are some tips to keep you healthily productive this summer by balancing relaxation and functioning as a productive member of society.
That’s right folks, it can be as simple as that. I’ve been guilty of spending many a day glued to my couch binge watching TV. Breaking that cycle is as easy as getting up, taking a shower (so your greasy-ass self doesn’t scare your neighbors), and walking outside. Being productive becomes so much more possible when you leave the house. If you look presentable and are standing on two feet, the world is your oyster. You can walk your dogs, go see a friend, build a tower of donuts, learn how to do a backflip. Get out and smell the roses people.
Make a List
For those of us that are chronic list-makers, we are well aware of how satisfying it feels to cross an item off a list. And when your lists consist of things like "try chia seed pudding recipe," "plan weekend beach trip," and "take dogs on play date," your life feels like one big "cross it off the list" moment.
Another idea is to spend time making a bullet journal. Their entire purpose is to make us more productive by keeping track of daily tasks and schedules in an aesthetically pleasing way. They’re a time investment, no doubt about it, but that’s time much better spent than watching The Office all the way through for the fourth time.
Get a Job
There is a way to balance work while still aggressively enjoying your summer! (Yes, aggressively—how many summer vacations do you have left?) Don’t settle for some low-paying job that’s hard work and no fun. Find a job that aligns with your interests; if you’re into local food, apply at the farmer’s market (like me). If you love fashion, apply to your favorite retail store. If you love animals, start your own petsitting business. You’ve got nothing but time over the summer, so invest some of it into finding a job that’s worth your time.
Summer is of course the season to travel, but not everybody has the luxury of taking big trips every summer. If that’s the case, take the time to make small trips and become better acquainted with where you grew up. Go camping at a state park. Travel to a nearby city and get lost in one of its neighborhoods. Make nothing but left turns for an hour and see where you end up. Or hole up in a cozy coffee shop and plan your travels for next summer. Even if you didn’t make it to Europe this time around, there’s still next year.
No, I am not suggesting that you spend your time transforming into a gym rat. Summer offers so many opportunities for staying active in fun ways. Bike to a cute cafe for lunch, go on a run on the beach, get a day pass to the local rock climbing gym, spend the day swimming with your siblings at the pool. Or if the gym is your thing, go spend an hour or two there when you’ve got time! You may look a sweaty mess after you exercise, but you’ll feel like a million bucks.
Make Time for Family and Friends
Without a mile long to-do list thanks to classes, homework, and extracurriculars, now is the best time to spend time with your loved ones worry free. Commit to weekly dinners where everyone sits at the table, no phones or TVs in sight, and just talks and enjoys the moment. People from home fade into the background a bit during the madness of each semester, so make the moments you have with them count. Now is the time to show your parents that you got their care packages and pay it forward by showing them the love and attention they deserve.
Immerse Yourself in a Hobby
With endless free time, summer is the perfect time to dedicate to a hobby. Get a friend to give you those guitar lessons you’ve been meaning to take forever. Get creative in the kitchen with the bounty of fresh produce summer brings. Take some dye and some old white clothes to the backyard and make some magic happen. Anything you have ever wanted to try, just do it. Why not?
It’s too easy to get into the cycle of sleeping late, getting sucked into a show or social media, realizing it’s 4 o’clock and too late to do anything productive, staying up late, and doing it all over again. (At least for me, your cycle may be different.) But by trying just a few of these things, you can motivate yourself to make the most of your summer. A little R&R is fine every now and then, but it’s best enjoyed after a long, productive day.