5 Out-of-the-Box Things To Do This Summer While Working

You’ve heard it before: All work and no play makes Johnny a dull boy. Well, I don’t know about Johnny, but I know I get a little crabby if I don’t eventually get some quality down time.

When summer rolls around too often we try to cram too much “real life” into three or four short months to make up for putting everything on hold during the school year. In an effort to get ahead summer is typically when college students finally get the opportunity to earn some money, sign up for internships, fulfill community service, enroll in summer school, take on a second job, blah, blah, blah—it’s enough to make one’s head explode.

But it’s important to remember that regardless of how industrious you might be you still need to give your psyche a little break. Sometimes you have to kick back and do something just for the fun of it. And I don’t mean just once the entire summer, but regularly throughout the summer, even if just something small. That’s not to say you can’t work, we all know you have to. But taking one night a week off to do something totally unrelated to all your grown-up responsibilities will definitely rejuvenate your soul. So to help you unbend your mind out of that stressful pretzel you’ve most likely twisted it into, consider these five out-of-the-box activities you rely on for some much needed R & R.

  1. Coach a Kids’ Sports Team
  2. Even if you don’t have kids of your own, you can always volunteer at the local YMCA, youth center, or school district. Some coaching jobs are actually paid, although it’s usually just a stipend. But the money is not the motivating factor here. The beauty of being a coach for a kids’ team is that you don’t even have to be that good at the sport you’re coaching. You just have to like it and be fairly enthusiastic. So if you’ve ever fantasized about being a baseball, softball, football, basketball, or soccer star, give in to that dream by sharing your athletic passion with little kids. It gets you outside and allows you to spend time with little people who tend to make you put things into perspective.

  3. Volunteer
  4. If sports aren’t your thing then volunteer your time doing something that you find interesting, but typically don’t have time for during the school year. For example, be a reader during story time at the local library; volunteer as a counselor at kids’ camp; be a tour guide for the park service; work at an animal shelter. There are a host of things you can do if you let your mind wander to those places you don’t have time to think about (but still dream about) when dealing with your demanding class load during the school year.

  5. Join a Club or Team
  6. Maybe you were a pretty good bowler back in the day. If that’s the case, join a bowling team; or a softball league; or a swim club; or the lawn darts association, or whatever. There are so many more opportunities for clubs in the summer and the best part is many of them meet outside, getting you out into the fresh air.

    Or if you prefer things more structured, take a fun class in something you never have time for during the school year, like sewing, pottery, gardening, drawing, playing the trombone, line dancing, even opera! As a college student may even get a break on summer school classes if you take them for noncredit.

  7. Start a Small Business
  8. This may seem a little too much like work, until you realize you can make the business all about something creative and fun. For example, if you love dogs start a dog-walking service. This gets you outside, gives you exercise and allows you to spend time with your furry four-legged friends. If you like kids, be a part time nanny, but don’t just sit around the house with the kids, take them to the zoo, or on hikes in the park, or on bike rides around town. And if you’re crafty, create whatever little doodads you make and then sell them in a craft fair. At the very least you’ll make a little extra cash doing something you love.

  9. Read
  10. Yes, I know you do that all school year, but in the summer you can catch up on the “for fun” reading you never get to do; trashy novels, celebrity biographies, pop culture magazines, that Facebook for Dummies book you bought last year, but never got around to. If you need to, join a book club so that you have a reading goal that forces you to read for pleasure.

    Or better yet, work on writing your own book. Admit it, you’ve always dreamt of being an author. Start journaling every night before bed, or right when you wake up, whichever time you feel most inspired. If taking on the writing of entire book seems overwhelming, just start with a story outline as a goal. An outline is the first step to writing a first chapter.

Whatever your secret passion may be, it’s important to nourish it (even if it’s just a little) in the summer. Yes, you can still work, socking money away from when you return to being a poor college student in the fall. But don’t forget, your mind and soul need a little something to get by on, too.

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