As summer gets fully into its stride it’s time to ensure we make the most of these longer days and vacations. We have more time with our kids over the summer break, and there are more choices to make about how we spend our time and where we go, but we can often feel pressured to have expensive days out, or we worry that the summer is passing us by as we juggle work with everything else. Here are 6 simple things you can do to squeeze the maximum joy out of summer, without spending lots of money or energy (yours or the planet’s).
If you live near open water that is safe to swim in (always check this before any wild swimming adventures), make the most of it by taking a refreshing dip. There’s no better way to shake off the stresses of a hectic day than floating in cool water. Whether a local lido, river, lake or the ocean, taking time to swim outdoors will have a positive effect on your mental, as well as physical wellbeing. Just take sensible precautions and pack a few simple essentials, like a swimsuit, space-saving lightweight linen towel, flask of hot tea to warm you up afterwards, and some sunscreen if you will be drying off in the sun.
Why not make one day a week a no-screen day? Pack away all your and your family’s devices and spend the time you might have spent trawling social media playing a board game together or with a friend, reading a book, or going for a walk. It’s amazing how much of our time is eaten away by the pulls of emails and the internet. Getting this time back for one day a week will feel liberating, and your kids might even secretly enjoy it too!
3.Learn a new skill/ perfect an old one
Summer is the perfect time to reconnect with the learning part of your brain that may have been neglected in the busyness of everyday life. Learn an instrument, sew something beautiful and useful, learn to carve wooden spoons, or have a refresher lesson in something you used to love doing. Innovative schemes like this one, where customers take along their broken appliances and learn how to fix them, are not only a great challenge and very satisfying, but you will meet new people and can do your bit for sustainability by not throwing things away that just needed some tlc.
It is a lot easier to cook and eat well in summer and early autumn, when there is an abundance of fresh, local food. Ditch the weekly supermarket shop for a few weeks and instead explore local farmers’ markets or smaller stores. Salads and simple food work perfectly in hot weather, when our appetites can be diminished by the heat, so get inspired by a new cookbook or search online for some fabulous seasonal food that will reinvigorate your weekly menus and put a spring in your step.
One of the great pleasures of summer is eating outside. Whether sitting on the doorstep with a bowl of granola or packing a proper picnic, food somehow tastes better in the open air. Summer is barbecue time, but you can cook over a fire without it needing to be a big event: invest in a fire pit and use it for everyday cooking as well as parties, making flatbreads or marinated prawn skewers and eating them in the garden. People seem to relax more over an outdoor meal, there is a flow, more space and an easiness that suits the mellow, drawn out summer evenings. Using beautiful, sustainable linens for your picnics and outdoor meals means you can create Instagram-worthy spreads without any wasteful paper napkins.
6.Spend time in Nature
You may have booked a summer vacation already, but for those staying at home there are plenty of ways to connect with Nature and reap the benefits of being outdoors every day. Grab five minutes on your coffee break to sit on a bench outside and feel the sun on your face, walk barefoot on wet grass on a dewy morning, sleep under stars in a hammock wrapped in a cosy woollen blanket, sit round a fire, plant some wildflowers for a beautiful floral patch next year, paddle in a stream, get off the bus one stop early and walk the last part of your journey, or simply go for an evening walk and watch the sun sink on the horizon.
Time spent well leads to a life well lived. A little thought and attention will help make your summer beautiful and happy, without costing the earth.