5​ Essentials To Creating The Most Relaxing Summer Yet

5​ Essentials To Creating The Most Relaxing Summer Yet

You don't need to go on a big vacation or spend a ton of money for your summer to be fun.

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As summer approaches, every student is longing for the moments of relaxation, days of reclining in the sun, and a much-needed break from their studies. The following will guarantee the best summer break that will sustain memories, reduce boredom, and keep you refreshed and relaxed.

1. A polaroid or disposable camera. 

Memories are fun to create, but even better when you have something to look back on. Polaroid cameras have been popular recently and are a perfect way to snap photos at the beach. Although the film can get expensive, they make perfect keepsakes for you and your friends. An equally as great alternative are disposable film cameras. They can be purchased at most grocery stores or on Amazon, and they are easy to just throw in your bag! Always having one on hand will even increase the need for memory-making. Keeping a collection of photos from your summer is a great way to keep those moments alive.

2. Protecting your skin.

It is so important to protect your skin—especially the skin on your face. Using mineral sunscreen is a natural way to protect your skin from pollutants and UVA rays. Anytime you step outside, you are exposed to harmful sun exposure and air. Sunscreen should always be applied underneath makeup. Make it part of your routine to cover up with sun defense. A great and inexpensive one is by CeraVe. It is also important to remember to drink water while you are out in the sun.

3. A creative project. 

When boredom strikes, it is good to have something to fall back on. Picking up a new hobby like learning an instrument, painting, or flipping clothing can be fun ways to spend the days that you have nothing going on. Instead of spending hours on the couch watching Netflix, put your creativity toward something that makes you happy. Make a photo album from your summer, or journal. Chase after inspiration when you have nothing else to do.

4. A good book.

If you aren't taking classes in the summer, you should continue to expand your knowledge and learn new things. Having a goal of reading a few books over the summer is a good start. If you're not into reading, listen to an audiobook or a podcast. The best downtime comes from mindless escapes found in reading or in learning new information. Books can inspire and entertain, being the perfect item in your beach bag.

5. A mini vacation. 

Even if you are working all summer, it is necessary to still plan time to get away. Whether it's a quick road trip with your friends or a weekend exploring a new city, getting outside and spending time away from the year's normal routine will be enough. You don't need to go a huge vacation to the coast or some tropical destination, just do something small with your friends or family. Your summer will feel more successful even if you take a little bit of time off and do something.

There is so much to fill your summer with. It will only be as good as you make it, so remember to take time to relax and go outside! It doesn't take a lot of time and money to make summer great, just a little creativity and spontaneity.

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40 Things To Do During Summer Vacation

Because we all know four months without college friends or classes is WAY too long.
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It's been less than a week since finals wrapped up at the University of Minnesota, and I, among many of my other friends, are already lost on things to do. Since January, our entire schedules have been filled with homework and studying. The new freedom summer brings provides endless time (in between our summer job shifts, of course) for new activities and things you wouldn't otherwise have the opportunity to do during the school year. Below is a list of 40 different activities to keep you entertained during your break and to ensure you make the most of your summer.


1. Learn a new language.

I highly recommend starting with Duolingo. It's an app that provides free language tutoring through a series of activities and exercises. It offers a wide variety of languages such as Spanish, German, Greek, Swahili, among many others.

2. Volunteer.

There's an endless amount of volunteering opportunities offered throughout every major city in the country. For example, many hospitals will accept volunteers, as well as organizations in Minnesota such as Feed, My Starving Children, or the Ronald McDonald House. Most positions only require an application but be sure to check for minimum requirements such as age or experience.

3. Read a book.

Go to a library and wander until you find a book you think you'll like. Sit back, relax, and enjoy.

4. Watch a TED talk.

This is one of my favorite hobbies any time of the year. TED is a nonprofit organization that shares short, approximately 15-minute videos ranging from science to business to global issues. There's a topic out there for everyone.

5. Start a garden.

Even if you don't have any outdoor space, succulents and cacti are very low maintenance and still add a little "green" to your indoor space.

6. Go camping.

Whether it's at a campground or in your backyard, enjoy the technology-free time with your family or friends.

7. Paint.

If you're not an artistic person, go to the store, buy a set of Crayola watercolors, and just paint.

8. Take an online course.

Coursera and edX both supply free online courses from top universities such as Yale, MIT, and Harvard. If you're trying to further your understanding of a particular topic such as physics or biology, I suggest starting with these websites.

9. Bake brownies or cookies.

Most stores stock up on the prepared cookie or brownie mixes, but if you have the time and ingredients, try making them from scratch.

10. Fly a kite.

Kites are available on Amazon for $10-$15, and instruction videos are available on YouTube to help you get started.

11. Play board games.

Life and Scrabble are my go-to's.

12. Make a scrapbook of old memories.

If you have the time and a little extra money, I promise the end-product will be worthwhile.

13. Start a journal.

You don't have to go buy the fancy Moleskin journals or buy an expensive one from Barnes and Noble, a simple notebook will do the trick. Write down your thoughts and document your summer.

14. Go to the beach.

Enjoy the sunshine, but don't forget sunscreen!

15. Go fishing.

Minnesota is the Land of 10,000 Lakes, and one of them is most likely within driving distance. Take the time on a nice, calm morning, and go fishing.

16. Binge-watch a TV show on Netflix.

"The Office," "Friends," "New Girl," "How I Met Your Mother," and "Grey's Anatomy" are good places to start.

17. Start a bucket list and cross off one item every week.

The items added don't have to be spectacular and nearly unattainable, they can be little things, too. In other words, I'm not expecting you to go skydiving, swim with sharks, and go on a cruise all in one month.

18. Learn to rock climb.

Both indoor and outdoor rock climbing are available depending on your level of comfort and experience. Remember to take every safety precaution and have fun.

19. Catch up with an old friend over coffee.

Call the friend you haven't seen in three years and ask to catch up over coffee. You never know how much their life has changed since last speaking with you.

20. Have a picnic.

Pack a basket with sandwiches, fruit, vegetables, and juice, and find a nice spot with a view. Maybe bring a book for a post-picnic activity.

21. Meditate or do yoga.

If you're unexperienced in both of these activities, many YouTube channels provide instructional videos. I'll post a link to one of my favorite YouTube yoga instructors here.

22. Learn a new instrument.

Whether it's piano, guitar, or even this $7.49 recorder from Amazon, try something new.

23. Discover new music.

Spotify and Pandora are great music platforms to discover different songs and artists. Keep checking your local venues and maybe attend a concert if possible.

24. Complete a puzzle.

You can buy puzzles online for around $10-$15. However, thrift stores and stores like Goodwill often sell them for less than $5.

25. Visit a museum.

The Science Museum of Minnesota and Minneapolis Institute of Art are two of the post popular museums in Minnesota. If you check their websites and other internet sources such as Groupon, you might be able to find a discount for admission.

26. Go to a comedy show.

I'm unaware of good comedy events around the country, but if you ever find yourself in downtown Minneapolis, check out Brave New Workshop.

27. Build a card tower.

If you're unsure how to do so, here is a link to instructions.

28. Reorganize and redecorate your room.

If you'd like a change in your life, try redecorating or reorganizing your room. Donate old clothes, books, or furniture no longer in use.

29. Marathon the entire Harry Potter series.

I challenge you to do this back-to-back with each movie, but I also realize that is 19 hours and 39 minutes of watching movies, not including snack or bathroom breaks.

30. Play with a pet.

It doesn't have to be your own. For a real adventure, check out the nearest animal shelter.

31. Start a blog.

Wordpress and Weebly are two online blogging websites that I highly suggest. Although it takes awhile to become accustomed to the platform, these websites are great because they're entirely customizable to the type of blog you wish to create.

32. Go for a bike ride.

Whether it's along the river or out on back roads, go for a ride.

33. Teach yourself how to juggle.

This might be easier said than done, but some videos on YouTube might be useful.

34. Take a bubble bath.

Some bubble bath or a bath bomb, music, and a good book will have you relaxed almost instantly.

35. Go to a farmer's market.

Support the farmers in your community and try buying local. With a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, baked goods, and flowers, there's something for everyone. The farmer's market in downtown Minneapolis is open Thursday's from 6am-6pm, while the Lyndale Market is open daily from 6am-1pm.


36. Exercise.

Go for a walk. Run. Bike. Do yoga. Play soccer. Just get up, and get moving.

37. Become a tourist in your own city.

Pretend you're from out of state and only have a limited amount of time to explore your city. Take yourself and your friends or family to the must-see places around town.

38. Color.

Adult coloring books have become an increasingly popular trend. Available online, Barnes and Noble, and Target, they're easily accessible. You can buy a book, some colored pencils or pens, and enjoy the relaxing day.

39. Spend time with your family and friends.

Whether it's a movie day or going out on a walk, put away your phone or laptop for a day and appreciate the people standing around you.

40. Enjoy all the time you have not worrying about studying or homework.

Cover Image Credit: Joe Pizzio // Unsplash

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7 Things To Do This Summer When You Run Out Of Ideas

The summertime is about creating memories and activities, such as bowling and tie-dying, does that by involving family and friends.

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Some of these ideas may appear simple, but they generate a lot of fun and memories. Sometimes the smallest things have the most significant impact. The summertime is about creating memories and activities, such as bowling and tie-dying, does that by involving family and friends.

1. Night swimming

Hopefully, among your friend group, someone has a pool or possibly a beach or lake house. Night swimming is always fun during summer because you do not freeze when you get out of the pool, and it almost seems like you are breaking the rules. I find the best memories are made when you are with friends at night, and the conversations change some regular chit-chats to in-depth dialogues about everything from our futures to conspiracy theories. Night swimming combines the joy that swimming in the summertime brings and the memories from in-depth conversations with friends.

2. Bowling

I know bowling appears to be a basic but anything can be fun depending on who you surround yourself with. For instance, at bowling alleys near my hometown, they do midnight bowling, which everyone tends to do for their birthdays and after dances. Once again, this activity incorporates the deep conversations that create memories with friends due to the time it occurs. Bowling can also be fun because you do not just have to bowl. At most places, you can also play arcade games, which creates more memories based on the wins and failures of everyone.

3. Tie-dye clothes

Tie-dying clothes is enjoyable because you are getting to create new types of clothes that can be any colors you want. It is a great activity during the summer since it is messy, usually requires help from friends, and the clothes will dry much quicker. The mess may be a turn-off, but it is actually where most of the stories come from. The dye usually ends up everywhere, and you and your friends have to make the best out of it, which is the part that brings laughs. This way, you end up creating clothes that match your friends and hilarious memories with your friends as well.

4. Hammocking

You may need to rest for a few days instead of one or two days, but, as I said before, resting can become boring. So, I suggest switching the scenery if you are still tired or stressed. There have been countless weeks where I needed to rest the whole week due to an overlord of stressful tasks in the previous week or simply tired due to my classes. Hammocking allows you to rest, but you can also hang out with friends and even catch some rays.

5. Go to a body of water

Whether it be a beach, a lake, or a river, you should go to some form of a body of water during the summer. During the daytime, you can do various activities at the beach, such as sun-bathing, kayaking, swimming, and paddleboarding. During the nighttime, you can swim under the stars and talk all night by the water. I am from the middle of nowhere in a landlocked state, so I know the struggle of being unable to go to the beach whenever I want. If you are facing the same struggle, ask your friends, and look on Facebook. Around me, the state park provides kayaking and paddleboarding on the lake for low prices.

6. Watch the sunrise

Watching the sunrise is always fun because it tends to mean you and your friends pull an all-nighter the night before. If this is the case, the conversations have begun to evolve from basic topics to strange and intriguing topics. You and your friends end up playing many games and also making up games to stay up. If you choose to wake up the day of, everyone can make a big breakfast and head out to watch. Baking and cooking with family and friends always create memories due to the messes made and the creations that are made. So, seeing a sunrise, itself, is beautiful but if you set up activities surrounding it and invite family and friends, it becomes memorable.

7. Find a job

Look, if all else fails, try finding a job. I know working during the summer is a drag because I worked at a grocery store all last summer. However, if you can not find anything else to do, it will not hurt filling your time with making money.

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