What is your favorite summer memory from when you were a kid? Maybe it was a special trip you took, sharing ice cream with your siblings, or playing outside with your friends.
When I was a kid, I always looked forward to summer vacation. Summer meant fun things to do, like getting ice cream, going to the pool, going to children’s programs at the local library, and having tons of playdates.
As a kid, summer was magical.
Once I entered college, summers became harder.
As a college student with an anxiety disorder, summers are more difficult. Sure, you get plenty of time to rest, relax, do fun things, experience life, and get a break from studying, but having so much free time is hard when you have anxiety. Free time is a good thing, but when an anxious brain is left to its own devices, you start to think about things that upset you. For me, these thoughts tend to focus on my worries for the future, like “will I find a full time job?” and “will I be able to get my own place?”
And those are some of the tamer thoughts.
At the time of this writing, Summer 2019 is about halfway over. By this point, many of you are probably wondering when you can get back to school and have your routine back. I know I have!
Right now, you’re probably running low on ideas to pass the time. To help combat boredom and anxiety, I’ve compiled a list of activities for you to do. If summer boredom is making your anxiety worse, try out one of these activities:
- Go on a walk. Getting some exercise, sunlight, and fresh air can lower your anxiety. If it’s too hot, find an indoor place to walk around, such as an indoor track or the mall.
- Work out at the gym. Exercise keeps anxiety in check, and it’ll get you out of the house as well.
- Try a new hobby. You can do something related to your current hobbies, or you could try something completely new. For example, if you enjoy knitting, you can try crocheting (or vice versa).
- Throw a party. You can make it as complicated or as simple as you want. Even a small get-together will give you the opportunity to hang out with your friends. Being social can help improve your mental health as well.
- Have a water balloon fight. Water balloons are inexpensive, and it’s a great way to cool off.
- Try out a new recipe. There are thousands, if not millions, of free recipes online that fit every type of diet you can think of. Learning new recipes is not only fun, but it’s also cheaper than eating out all the time.
- Go mini-golfing. If it’s too hot, see if there are any indoor min-golfing places near you. This is more fun if you go with a group of people.
- Plan a staycation. Unplug for the weekend and spend some time with your family. Make it a special weekend; do whatever you enjoy.
- Visit a museum. Most cities have at least a few museums. Smaller museums tend to be less expensive, and some even have free admission. Google “museums near me” and see what you can find.
- See a movie. For me, summer is usually the best time to go see movies; during the semester, I don’t have enough time to sit and watch a movie for two hours. You might even be able to find a dollar movie theater near you. These theaters don’t play new releases, but you can’t beat tickets that only cost a dollar!
- Get ice cream. Let’s be honest, summer and ice cream go together like milk and cookies. Getting ice cream is fun, especially when it’s hot outside. If dairy bothers you, many grocery stores carry tasty dairy-free ice creams.
- Go out to dinner. Better yet, try out a new restaurant and see what you think.
- Start a blog. Blogging is a great way to share your thoughts with the world. Best of all, there are many free platforms out there, so you can try it risk-free.
- Write in a journal. If you’re not comfortable sharing your thoughts with the world, you can write them down and have them for your eyes only.
- Write a story. Most of us have a story that’s eager to be written down. When you’re done, you can share it online, or you can keep it to yourself.
- Go to the beach. If you live near a beach, this could be a fun way to spend the afternoon. You can swim, make sandcastles, collect seashells, and more.
- Go to the pool. Most of us live near a community pool. The pools near me are run by the city, so residents get discounted entrance fees. Check your local pool for pricing information.
- Skype/text/call your friends from school. These are great ways to keep in touch with your friends. Being away from your school friends can be hard; keeping in touch with them can make the summer a bit easier.
- Go to the library and check out books. This is a great way to try out new authors and genres risk-free. Besides, there’s something freeing about being able to choose which books you want to read, instead of being assigned books.
- Get creative. Creativity can help ease your anxiety. There are a million different ways to nurture your creativity: painting, drawing, sewing, embroidery, jewelry making, pottery, etc. No matter what you choose, do something that will feed your soul.
- Listen to audiobooks. You can purchase audiobooks on a variety of online platforms. If finances are an issue, many libraries will allow you to check out digital audiobooks for free.
- Play board games with your family or friends. If you want, you can turn it into a game night and make an evening out of it.
- Perform a random act of kindness for someone you know.
- Experiment with your hair and makeup. Mix up your hair and makeup routine. If you need help or don’t have any ideas, there are plenty of YouTube tutorials for all skill levels.
- Learn a new language. Apps like Duolingo can help you master the basics of foreign languages for free.
- If you sing or play an instrument, teach yourself a new song. If you want, you can perform it for someone and dazzle them with your music skills.
- Listen to music. Music can improve your mental health. Listen to whatever speaks to you.
- Ask your family/friends for recommendations. They can give you suggestions for new attractions to visit.
- Clean out your room and donate gently used items. Many thrift stores and nonprofits rely on donations to sustain their programs. You’ll get more space, and you’ll help someone in need.
- Check out a local community theater production. Community theater productions are often less expensive, and you can make an afternoon or evening out of it.
- Write a nice letter for a loved one. Tell them how much they mean to you. Having anxiety can make it hard to express your love. If that’s the case, try writing down what you wish you could say.
I know that summer’s not always easy. I know people give you weird looks when you tell them you’re ready for it to be over. And I know that it’s hard to find ways to use up your endless free time.
Remember that summer is temporary. You won’t always be this bored, and you’ll have your routines back soon. Use these boredom busters and before you know it, it’ll be the first day of school.
In the meantime, breathe, make the most of the rest of the summer, and know that it’s going to be okay.