When you’re on vacation, you begin to miss the structure and social aspects that work provides. However, spending some time away from the daily stress and laborious nature of the medical profession can be tremendously beneficial for your mental and physical well-being.
Consider this your opportunity to regain perspective on the joys and rewards of being a healthcare professional. This can also be a great reminder of why you chose this field, which in turn will allow you to reboot, recharge, and set new boundaries that protect your health, especially emotionally.
Summertime is the perfect occasion to focus on self-care, whether that means enjoying the peace and quietude in your newfound free time or participating in lively outdoor activities, soaking up the sunshine, or spending some quality time with friends and family.
It’s time to ditch the scrub hats, whip out the barbecue grill, dust your camping gear, head to the water, or grab a hammock and enjoy the good weather! So here are 10 fun summer activities to relax, unwind, and take full advantage of this beautiful season.
Do yoga in the park
Yoga is renowned for its boundless health benefits particularly because it comprises the ideal combination of mental discipline and physical fitness. This practice has been proven to greatly reduce stress and curb anxiety. You don’t have to be incredibly fit or flexible to partake in yoga. There is a plethora of styles to choose from, whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned practitioner.
With the weather warming up in these months, outdoor yoga is definitely a great summer activity choice for people of any athletic ability. You can get together with friends, take your yoga mats outside, and do a group session of training, socializing, and basking in the vibrant colors of nature. This further adds to the benefits that yoga can offer considering how powerful being outdoors can be in reducing your stress levels and inducing a state of calm and tranquility.
A study conducted on the correlation between green spaces and stress reduction found that individuals who lived in natural environments and spent a significant chunk of their time outdoors had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol compared to those who lived in urban areas where green spaces were scarce.
If you’re not entirely confident in your yoga skills, consider finding some outdoor classes in your area. In most cities, large groups of yogis will hold outdoor classes in parks and open areas, so this is certainly an option worth looking into. Outdoor yoga is a great summer activity for relieving stress and a lot of communities organize outdoor yoga events during the hotter months. Join a group, stretch, recharge, and get your heart pumping and your body moving!
Organize a Picnic
What better way to uplift your spirits, brighten your day, and appreciate the small joys of life than to take your lunch outdoors! This is the perfect opportunity to hang out with friends and family, breathe in the fresh air, soak up the sun, and enjoy the verdant greenery all while sharing a delicious meal with the people you love and care about. Research suggests that vitamin D can improve mood status and help alleviate symptoms of depression. Organizing a picnic is a great way for you to get your daily dose of vitamin D but also to connect with your loved ones, especially now that Covid-19 restrictions are lifted.
Keeping on with the outdoor summer fun theme, spending your morning on the water fully immersed in the beauty of nature can break you out of your stressful routine. Fishing is a very meditative activity. Because it requires a lot of patience, you get to finally experience the stillness of the present moment, away from the nerve-wracking environment you’re used to in the workplace.
Design your own garden
Gardening is the perfect summer activity to maximize your time in nature all while contributing to its growth, beauty, and prosperity. It can also be incredibly therapeutic since it can redirect your focus from anxiety and worry to the creative task at hand. Gardening can relieve stress and boost your mood. Being more in touch with nature is a common urge that often goes unfulfilled for many people. While you may not have time to take a trip abroad or go camping, having a piece of nature in your backyard or balcony can help you unplug from everyday life and connect with the calming pace of nature.
Read a book outside
Technology is everywhere and our phones have become a ubiquitous part of our daily life. Taking a break from your electronics and going offline can help you refocus your time on what matters to you the most. A digital detox is essential for you to recharge and recognize unhealthy patterns of behavior. It can also be beneficial to your mental and emotional well-being, especially considering how negative the news we tend to consume is. So, pack up some snacks, a cozy blanket, a good book, and spend the afternoon in a park enjoying the soothing sounds of nature while uncovering a captivating story all at once.
Based on where you live, hiking can be a great option to help you spend more time outdoors, get some physical activity, and reduce your stress levels. Even if there are no hiking trails in your area, taking a walk through your local park can still be just as beneficial. A recent study conducted by scientists at Heriot-Watt University in the U.K. used mobile brain electrical activity testing to track participants’ behavior and emotions in regards to the environment they’re in. The findings explain how volunteers’ brains enter a meditative state when going through green spaces and natural environments. The results also showed reduced feelings of stress and frustration and an overall increase in long-term excitement and engagement. Hiking does not have to be a strenuous activity, you can start small, with a brisk walk in the park and build your way up. You’ll be surprised at how invigorated you feel!
Try water sports
Very few things match the level of refreshment and relaxation you feel when you get out on the water. Whether it’s paddle boarding on a scenic lake, kayaking through a tranquil river, surfing the pristine waters of the ocean, or simply relaxing on the shore, water sports and activities are a great way to relieve stress and enjoy the sunny weather. In fact, water sports yield the same benefits as any other exercise, i.e. lowering cortisol levels and reducing stress. The soothing blue color of the sky and the ocean, combined with the calming atmosphere and the comforting sound of waves crashing can help you feel more grounded and, thus, more inclined to enjoy the great outdoors.
Plan a fun road trip
Road trips are the pinnacle of fun summer activities. They’re the ideal occasion to bond with your friend or family over songs, car games, and a shared love for classic road trip snacks. Your road trip will also result in a lifetime supply of fond memories and fun times. Road trips, even when planned, tend to involve many impromptu side trips and stops that end up being part of the adventure. So, if you need help with some advanced planning for your next road trip, here are a few things to consider.
- Plan your itinerary in advance and make sure you have plenty of options to resort to in case you make the wrong turn and you’re suddenly lost -GPS, Google Maps, or even a paper map.
- Have a reliable vehicle, and whether it’s yours or a rental, you need to make sure all bases are covered- license and registration, insurance, extra set of keys, spare tire, and jack, flashlight, emergency toolkit, etc.
- Music is an integral part of any successful road trip. So, download some playlists beforehand, and don’t forget the AUX cord. You should also check if your car radio is in working order, as local radio can make the experience of visiting new places a lot more immersive.
- While taking the highway is generally the fastest and safest option, sometimes, taking unexpected detours can provide you with a chance to mingle with the locals and get a better sense of places you’ve never properly been to.
- Chain restaurants and motels can be very convenient when you’re in a rush and you need a place to stay or eat. With that said, if you want to get the full experience, you should try to go local. This means the quaint little diners, the charming mom-and-pop restaurants, the whimsical inns, and the memorable B&Bs.
- Be prepared and make sure you pack plenty of water, food, and snacks for those just-in-case moments.
- If you plan on visiting certain attractions, make sure you book in advance, especially if they’re really popular among tourists as those tend to sell out months in advance. Booking in advance doesn’t take away from the thrilling spontaneity of your road trip. It simply guarantees your spot at the events, concerts, shows, or tours you’re interested in.
- Pay attention to the gas gauge and consider how far the next gas station is. Fill up the tank when it’s still half full just to be on the safe side in case the next station ends up being farther than you anticipated.
Summer is upon us, so take some time to enjoy the activities listed above or make your own summer bucket list to take full advantage of the nice weather. This is your opportunity to let go of the daily stressors of work and send those worries and anxieties to the back burner. Connect with nature and bond with friends over yoga, a delicious meal, or a rejuvenating hike. You might be surprised by the plethora of benefits that the outdoors can offer.