There is something about the summer that feels so joyous and carefree. Each warm day holds the promise of so much adventure and opportunity. Yet, those sunny months often feel so fleeting. And with so much to do and see in such a brief time, how do you fit it all in? Enter, your summer bucket list.
A summer bucket list lets you indulge your daydreams and think about all the things you, and your family or friends, want to do during the short season. It helps you make the most out of your time, so you don’t feel disappointed by all you didn’t do come the first day of fall.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to spend all of the summer soaking in vitamin D playing outside, but if you’re looking for some more adventurous or meaningful ideas, MOBE Guides have you covered.
Roll up your sleeves and volunteer.
Spending time doing kind acts for others increases your level of happiness. Researchers compared people who treated themselves to pampering activities to those who helped individuals or spent time volunteering for a cause—those who practiced “pro-social” behavior by helping others showed greater levels of happiness than those who treated themselves.1
Get out there and do what you can. Help build a trail, clean up a park, or just take a walk with a neighbor who doesn’t get out very much.
Plan some time away from work (and the computer).
You don’t have to spend a lot of time or money to enjoy the deep benefits of travel, even a short getaway has huge benefits. Researchers who study well-being observed that the boost to mood and outlook starts even before you travel as you anticipate the pleasure of the getaway.2
Grow some food.
Not a gardener? We’re here to tell you, “yes you are!” Anyone can nurture a cherry tomato plant. Or grow a little basil. You don’t need to harvest bushels of produce to reap the rewards of all that home-grown flavor.
It’s not just about the food, which is good and good for you. Studies have shown that gardening seems to improve mood as it lowers levels of cortisol, the stress hormone.3
Discover a new trail.
Maybe you’ve never hiked. Maybe you’ve hiked every trail in a 10-mile radius of home. Wherever you stand or stroll today, take it up a notch.
If you haven’t hiked in a while, let this be the summer you discover a trail in your hometown. If you already hike a lot, find an interesting new trail—maybe one with historical or geological significance. Read up a little before you go. The only rule: To get the greatest stress-reducing benefits, make sure that wherever you go you’re surrounded by nature—trees, leaves, shrubs, birds, and bubbling streams.
Fly a kite.
Flying a kite is a high-energy activity that gets you moving but doesn’t feel like exercise. There’s something so “uplifting” than the color and flight as your kite swoops and soars. If you don’t have a kite, you can find one at the dollar store or make your own to add a little extra creativity.
Daydream about your goals.
Whatever your household looks like—single, couple, friends, family—take the time to do some goal-setting together. Goals help align your focus and promote a sense of self-mastery. They help you measure how far you've come so you can keep improving.
Writing down your goals helps make them concrete and motivational. Making progress on them increases feelings of success and well-being.4
Part of the magic of summer is that it’s so short and sweet, so soak it all up when you can. Post your bucket list where you can see it to keep your plans top of mind. But also remember that while this list will help you take advantage of every sunny day, don’t forget to leave pockets of time for spontaneous fun or to just relax without a plan.
Looking for more ways to build healthier habits and improve your overall well-being? A MOBE Guide can give you one-to-one support. Get started today.
1. The Science of Happiness in Positive Psychology 101. PositivePsychology.com. https://positivepsychology.com/happiness/
2. Want to be happier? Spend on experiences, not things. Berkeley University of California Wellness. https://www.berkeleywellness.com/sites/default/files/BW_GGSC_final_11_6.pdf
3. 5 Secret Health Benefits of Gardening. AARP.org. https://www.aarp.org/health/healthy-living/info-2017/health-benefits-of-gardening-fd/
4. Goal-setting is linked to higher achievement. Positive Psychology. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-moment-youth/201803/goal-setting-is-linked-higher-achievement