Routines are very common in school. We wake up, grab breakfast, pack a lunch, go to school, partake in extracurricular activities, go home, study, do homework, prepare meals for the next day and it loops on and on until summer finally arrives. As a kid, summer was a sign that the loop was broken and I was free to do anything and everything that I wanted to do. I got to swim, draw, sing, play and it was all different on different days. As an adult, I sometimes fall into a similar loop that I do while in school. It’s all very routine with a lack of spontaneity that I used to correlate with summer. Last summer, I struggled with how stagnant summer felt, especially since I spent that majority of it preparing for my first year in graduate school. But with 2017 being a year that I’ve come to understand myself more, I’ve learned a few things that have helped me break the tiresome summer loop that a lot of adults go through.
Make Every Day Different
I’d just like to preface this and say routines aren’t a bad thing, far from it actually. When you have a deadline coming up, or an abundance of work to do, routine helps makes these tasks manageable. For me, however, keeping strictly to these routines once the task is over leaves a feeling of stagnation. Another thing that I’d like to preface is that I’m not suggesting that any difference made in the routine needs to be this bombastic experience that is different every single day (unless, of course, that’s something you’re interested in). For me, there are some very simple things that help me break from feeling like my summer has gone stagnant. Everyday, or most days, I try to do something that is out of the norm or differs from my daily routine. Though its not particularly productive, sometimes I like to watch show that I have been interested in. Other days, I like to walk somewhere different, like to the park or a restaurant in the city and just experience a different setting. Little changes like this are surprisingly effective in making summer feel a bit more fun for me.
Plan Your Fun
Most would consider my family lower middle class. As such, having the summer experience of weekend trips to the beach or plane trips across the country weren’t things that I grew up with. However, I’ve had plenty of vacations. I’ve been to Disney World twice, and have been to a plethora of amusement parks. As a child I never thought much of how that was possible, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned a very valuable lesson from my mom. It’s all in the planning. As an adult with a pretty tight budget, spontaneous trips aren’t really a thing for me. But when I plan my outings and “adventures”, it makes them much more plausible. An example is when my mom and I planned a trip to North Carolina for Spring Break. The trip was in March, but we had started planning and saving since January. The same can happen during the summer. I also plan trips within my financial means. This is slightly more easy for me because I also enjoy simple things. A trip to the Maldives would be fun, but so is a cheaper 90 minute trip to Six Flags. Regardless of who you are or your social/ economic status, a fair amount of planning can help break a stagnant summer.
My final piece of advice is to simply branch out. This could be with new people, or old friends. Breaking a stagnant routine can often mean having to do something you’re uncomfortable with. Doing something new is something that I like to do to break a cycle of boredom. So get coffee with that acquaintance, text a friend you haven’t seen in awhile, try a restaurant alone; these are things that I have done to break the stagnation I sometimes feel during the summer.