*some quick ways to cure summertime boredom and blues*
This is my first year as a teacher, and it’s wild that as someone whose out “adulting” I actually get a summer off. Whoa. It was the best thing ever. At least, it was the best thing ever… throughout those first few days of freedom. Then it kicks in. It’s like an itch. Creeping around me. Boredom.
I cram as much as possible into my life. It’s insane. I chronically fill in every moment of my existence until my schedule is bursting at the seams. So when my schedule is empty, my mind is helplessly confused.
Maybe you’re in the same boat. Maybe you’re in college, finding yourself with an empty plate after all-nighters and study “parties.” Maybe you’re a SAHM who’s found the house full of kids with no school and lacking any semblance of sanity. Maybe you homeschool, but what kids don’t get a little antsy during summer? Maybe you’re still working that 9-to-5, but those long days and beautiful nights have you wanting a little more.
Whatever the cause of your “Summertime Sadness”, here are some quick ways I’ve found to cure summertime boredom and blues:
1. Invest in those “boring” moments: During one summer, my husband went underway, so I moved back home to fight hardcore loneliness. I became my 12-year-old little sister’s chauffeur. I’d drive her to swim practice, play practice, friends houses, anything. And believe me those hours in the car in the heat could’ve been the closest thing to purgatory this earth will ever know. But instead we dug into conversation starters (I loved these: https://i.pinimg.com/originals/3e/ef/66/3eef66e84ba5ff65ee6fed10a43e5cce.jpg), picked apart songs on the radio, people watched at busy intersections. It was one of the few times I’ve been able to really invest in my relationship with her, and I really cherish those “boring” moments.
2. Start a summer devotion: More free time means more time to pray! Take these extra moments to turn your heart to the Lord. I’ve recently taken my daily rosary outside, walking around my quiet neighborhood while I pray. Such a great way to connect with God and His creation. You could also make a chalk rosary with kids, pick up a holy hour at your local adoration chapel, pick out a series of summer novenas (this website is awesome: http://www.praymorenovenas.com/novenas) and really commit to them.
3. Volunteer with/send your kids to a Vacation Bible School: Summer is VBS season! Vacation Bible School is such a beautiful way for kids to become more connected with God during the lazy summer months. Having both attended and volunteered with VBS, I can see just how much kids get out of having fun with their faith. I still remember a song I learned about the fruits of the Holy Spirit! And believe me, VBSes ALWAYS need more volunteers! You can work with the kiddos, or if that’s not your thing, they definitely will need help with set up, snacks, registration, tons of behind-the-scenes stuff! Check out your local parish or a neighboring parish to sign up!h
4. Re-read a great book: I don’t know about you, but I don’t have enough energy over the summer to commit to a book I might hate, lol. It just would be such a downer! Instead, I set aside some alone time sitting on my front steps and dig into a book. I just read Pride and Prejudice in under 24 hours a week ago! I’m probably going to read Middlemarch next, maybe some Agatha Christie (I’m a sucker for mysteries!)…ooo maybe read some Jane Austen I haven’t read yet. If you have kids, might be time to set out the blanket outside and read them some of those books you just loved as a child; for me, it would be Madeline, Magic Tree House, Harry Potter). Winter is for new books, new thoughts. Summer is for settings and characters you just adore. (If you’re really stuck for ideas, I’m intrigued by this list from National Catholic Register: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/catholic-fiction-picks-for-your-summer-reading )
5. Eat Outside: Make your back deck a place o’ beauty! String up some Edison lights, clean off that glass-top table, top it with a vibrant potted plant, pour a class of chilled Sangria, grill some burgers! I have so many childhood memories of eating on the back porch. Taking the family out of the normal routine always drummed up new conversation and put everyone in a more congenial mood. Maybe you don’t have a back porch, but you can always pack a picnic! When I lived alone, I would pack my lunch and sit out at a park. Just getting in the fresh air got me thinking of different things, and really brightened my summer.
6. Write Letters: I find summer to be the perfect time to building up those relationships that you’ve let slip over the course of the year. Maybe you’ve taken the kids to the local pool…bring a notebook and a pen and get writing! It could be an old friend from college, or it’s colleague from two duty stations ago…I’m sure they’d love to hear from you, and who doesn’t get excited when there’s more than just bills in the mailbox? If you’re looking for a way to reach out to someone via letter which would really make a profound impact, try writing an inmate. I’ve recently began a correspondence with an inmate in jail, and it has been such a journey of spiritual growth (you can read more about it here: https://www.catholicsistas.com/2018/05/visiting-the-imprisoned-an-encounter-with-an-inmate/). If you ask your pastor, I’m sure he’d know a local prison chaplain who could safely connect you with someone in desperate need of hope.