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It's not too late - 7 easy ways to make the most of your summer

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As the end of summer quickly approaches, it’s likely we’ve got a lot of mixed emotions swirling around. We may be sad the warmer weather is leaving and excited for change and a new season. As the pandemic continues to dissipate, we may be feeling grateful for the last few months as we shift towards a more ‘familiar’ life. We may be thankful for the recent memories we’ve shared with our family and friends after a long period of physical distancing. We may also be grieving (whether that be a job loss, a loved one, a relationship, or a life we’d grown accustomed to over the last year or so) - and that’s okay too. As we start to transition away from the warmer weather, we’ve got some ideas to help you maximize the last few weeks before a new fall and winter season begins. 

Take your meetings outside

If you’re working remotely, make your meetings audio-only and phone in on a walk as often as you can. If you’re back in the office and feel comfortable, take your meetings in person and do a walk-and-talk. The fresh air and outdoors are often instant mood boosters and provide a much-needed energy recharge. Changes in scenery also provide a fresh perspective that you just might need. 

Meet a friend for a new outdoor activity

Typically go to a weekly exercise class or intramural sports league with a friend? Maybe this weekend try a new activity like bocce ball or badminton - or have a board game night and take it to the park! Take advantage of the blue skies and try something different. Exploring new things regularly helps us stay engaged, connected, and inspired in all areas of our lives. 

Take your hobbies outdoors

If you normally paint or practice your golf swing in your garage at home, maybe next time take it into the backyard or a public park. Put in the effort to get out of your comfort zone a little bit - you may be surprised how rewarding a simple shaking up of your normal routine can be. 

Hit the farmers’ market and try a new recipe

Food is one thing we all agree we can’t live without - and there is no better time than the end of summer to be a little adventurous with your cooking. Head to your local farmers’ market, find an ingredient you’ve never cooked with before, and ask the growers how they like to prepare it (or go rogue and wing it - sometimes this is even more fun!). 

Do a backyard campout (with kids or not!)

For those of us lucky enough to have backyards or outdoor space, doing a little campout right at home can create cherished memories (whether you have kids or are flying solo). For many, camping is synonymous with summertime, but man can it be a lot of work! For these last few weekends (when most campgrounds are booked up anyway), keep it simple and just enjoy your home turf - but in a new and leisurely way. You can’t beat having your own private bathroom a hop and a skip away. 

Call or visit a friend you miss

Lots of us reconnected digitally with long-distance friends over a year or so of physical distancing in an effort to meet our social needs without compromising physical safety. Maybe now that our community is slowing re-opening, we realize we’ve had less time to keep up some of our “pandemic routines.” Call that friend you were talking to once a week or so, or meet up with a colleague after work you haven’t seen in a while. There are likely a few of our COVID-life habits we may not necessarily want to let go of! 

Be a tourist in your own city

Wherever you live, take advantage of what your home has to offer. Whether it’s a beautiful alpine lake, the public pool, a museum or a restaurant, be an explorer! A key part of consistent happiness is having gratitude for our lives, including where we live and the opportunities we have, whatever those might look like. The more we can cultivate an appreciation for what’s available to us, the more content we’ll feel. 

While there’s no doubt this summer has been a little different than the ones we’re used to, it’s not too late to fit in a few more memory-making experiences. Embrace variety, stretch your comfort zone a little, reconnect with old friends or make new ones, and enjoy your surroundings.