For most teens, the summer break is … gulp … half over, and the new school year is less than 40 days away. Don’t let the rest of your summer slip away without enjoying a few amazing experiences.
So, before the new school year arrives, make sure to do something every day that energizes your mind, body and spirit. You probably have oodles of ideas, but here are a few of my favorites for inspiration:
1. Discover your community treasures.
Grab your friends and discover the local treasures hidden in your hometown. Visit your local farmers market. Take in a local Jazz festival in the park. Enjoy a movie out. Go to your hometown fair. Take part in your community’s summer parades or theatre productions. Take a hike or swim at a local swimming hole. Pick some berries and make a pie. Have your fortune read. The bottom line: Just try something new, have fun and be adventurous.
2. Go camping with a sweet twist.
Nothing screams, “It’s summer!” like camping and enjoying the outdoors. Time spent around the campfire sharing stories, cracking jokes, singing and just generally bonding with family and friends makes for a lifetime of memories.
Why not make your campfire memories extra sweet with a banana s’more? It’s a little decadent, I know, but it’s a treat after all, not a regular habit. And, it is so simple to make. Just cut a banana length-wise and then gently open the peel. Stuff the inside with marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers. Gently wrap the packed banana in foil and place above the campfire flame for about five minutes. Carefully unwrap and enjoy. It’s an ooey gooey tasty treat. Just remember to bring a fork! Be creative and try some less traditional ideas. How about adding a fresh peach slice to your skewer as you toast your marshmallow for your s’more? How about adding fresh strawberries? The sky is the limit to take your s’more from traditional to trendy with fresh summer fruits.
3. Learn a new hobby.
Summer is a great time to experiment with a new hobby. If you’ve been kicking around the idea to try one, now is the time. Whether it’s joining a local class, watching YouTube tutorials or taking in-person lessons, expanding your horizon has never been easier. So make a list and zero in on what interests you the most – photography, dance, a musical instrument, painting, singing and beyond – and get started. Today.
4. Roam around town and chow down.
Visit new restaurants in town in search of new dishes. Talk with the chef, if you can, to learn more about what inspired the cuisine. It may inspire you to head to the kitchen to unleash your inner chef.
5. Get a jumpstart.
So much of the start of a new school year is spent brushing up on previous material. Why not review your algebra, world history or geography? It will keep your skills sharp so you can ease into the new school year calm, cool and stress free (ok, it’s never stress free, but certainly less stress). Or, get a head start and skim some of the new materials that will be coming your way in a more relaxed time frame. Summer is also the perfect time to practice and get ready for those academic biggies: the SATs and ACTs.
Too much screen time can hamper your efforts to re-energize over the summer. Aim to limit your time in front of television, on the phone or with other electronic devices to no more than two hours each day. You’re likely to spend more time enjoying new experiences and learning something new before the summer is long gone. Did I mention summer is half over?
Enjoy the rest of your summer!
Lorna Williams, MPH, RD
Co-author of Eating for A’s
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