Ninety-degree weather is proclaiming the arrival of summer loudly and clearly. For me, that means it’s time to make a seasonal to-do list. Not because I feel unproductive otherwise, but because it’s the best way to make sure I have every adventure I want.
To help you be a little more adventurous this summer, I made a cheat sheet of activities to inspire a season of fun, meaning, and memories. Snag mine directly, or use ‘em to as a jumping off point to brainstorm your own.
1. Host a beach (or bonfire) party.
Whether on the beaches of the Jersey shore or in Malibu, my family has made a tradition of barbecues my whole life. Those are some of my best memories. I plan on continuing that tradition with my husband and his family, and passing it down to my own children one day.
2. Take a spur-of-the-moment road trip.
Doing something impulsively makes it feel much more fun. Pick a place you've always wanted to visit (I’m dying to go to Paso Robles in wine country), grab your best friend or S.O., and get on the road! Have a playlist at the ready, and take every silly photo you can think of.
3. Make a list of goals.
Winter is typically the time for goal-setting, but lounging by the beach or the pool is just as good a time (if not better) for reflection, and since it’s halfway through the year, it’s a great time to check in on your progress with any New Year’s resolutions. Even if you don’t lose all the weight, get that feature, or land your dream job, it’s good to be able to look back and see what you've accomplished and what's still to come.
Volunteering can be so rewarding. Studies show that it can actually contribute to your overall sense of happiness. Research soup kitchens, food banks, hospitals, animal shelters, or schools close to you, and find out how you can get involved.
5. Find a book that makes you want to read (and read it).
Reading can be a fantastic escape. It engages your brain in a way television doesn't, so there's no room for worries or stress. The trick is finding a book you get excited about reading.
You could start with The New York Times best-seller list, stroll through your local bookstore and see what jumps out at you, or even just ask your friends and family what they loved reading this year. You can give yourself a goal for how many books you want to read, or just go with the flow.
6. Take a phone-free vacation.
It might not make sense to go out of town and leave your phone at home, but try to designate long stretches of vacation days as phone-free. For example, if you're headed down to the pool in the morning, leave the phone in the hotel room and perhaps give yourself permission to check it before heading out for dinner. It might seem scary, but it’s incredibly liberating.
7. Practice nurturing.
Practice loving and nurturing something this summer. Learning to take care of something else will enrich your life. This could mean something as life-changing as starting to plan a family or adopting a puppy, or something that requires less commitment, like planting a vegetable garden, or (baby steps) just getting a plant and caring for it.
8. Streamline your closet.
There’s something deeply energizing about decluttering your life. And, once you’ve cleared out what you don’t wear, it’s way easier to recognize what you actually NEED. Donate items you haven’t worn in a while (a year is a good barometer) and reorganize the clothing and accessories you keep to maximize efficiency. You can organize by color, style, season — think about how you come up with your outfits, and organize according to that.
8. Take an art class.
Art is very therapeutic. Creativity engages different parts of the brain, and self-expression is cathartic, whether it's through pottery or writing, painting or woodwork. Who knows? You might've had a hidden talent lurking beneath the surface your whole life.
10. Scour flea markets for vintage treasures.
Research markets in your area and promise yourself one special, vintage purchase this summer. You can go to one, or go to different ones every weekend, depending on how much you enjoy it. Regardless, it’s a guaranteed way to find one-of-a-kind items with a great story.
11. Throw a surprise celebration for someone you love.
A surprise party is a great way to show your love for someone, and create lasting memories. For a lot of people, it's a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Choose a theme that resonates with their personality. Maybe it’s salsa dancing, or maybe everyone dresses up like characters from Breaking Bad. Just remember, it’s not about making anything perfect. It’s just about creating connections.
What summer adventures and activities are on your list?