Summer has always been my favorite season. I grew up on the beach, and summer entailed long days in the ocean followed by long evenings on my bike. To me, summer is synonymous with both a sense of freedom and a sense of hope and possibility. Always another adventure, another barbecue, another day outdoors ahead.

Alas, I am not a child anymore. I can’t remember the last long beach day I had (except when I was last on vacation), and my bike was stolen a few years ago (and no, I haven’t replaced it).

With that said, I still love summer, and I’m still determined to make my summers as enjoyable as they can be.

Actually Go Outdoors

I live in California, where the proverbial joke is that we don’t actually have seasons. I get the logic (especially whenever I visit my East Coast friends), but we still experience shorter nights during the fall and winter. When you work 9-5, that’s a limited amount of time outside.

In summer, I try to spend as much time outdoors as possible. Swimming, hiking, rock climbing, taking walks in the park, hanging out with our dog. Research shows that being in nature makes us happier and healthier!

Of course, you need to do some prep work first. Get the A/C in working order (you want a cool home to still sleep in), make sure you stay plenty hydrated (you don't want to end up in the emergency room, put on your shorts and flip-flops, and get outside.

Go on Vacation
I’m a huge fan of traveling. Yes, it’s an indulgence in my life, and yes I prioritize it (though I utilize the principles of travel hacking to essentially fund my trips).

Still, vacation is non-negotiable. Growing up, we did a lot of outdoor camping and staying in cheap resorts in Mexico. We traveled through the Southwest, stopping in Texas and Arizona, visiting the national parks and getting sunburnt at the same time. In my adult life, I try to prioritize international travel 1-2x per year. This year, we did Vietnam. In summer, we’re doing Belize. We were going to Thailand this past March, but my ankle decided to break!

There’s something exciting about the world in the summertime. Yes, everything may seem a bit busier, but it’s also brighter.

Work That Bucket List
It’s no secret that I like lists. So, it’s definitely no surprise that I love having a bucket list. Last summer alone, I was able to tick off several of my items (skydiving anyone?) Growing up, my parents had us write down summer “bucket lists,” which was a great idea for us kids to identify different goals and visions we had for that season.

Today, my bucket list isn’t as time-limited, but again, there’s something about the summertime that makes achieving goals more exciting and refreshing. Maybe it’s something in the saltwater.

Wear Your Sunscreen!
Yes, I’m going to be that nag. Don’t get fried. Don’t put your skin at risk. It’s not worth it.

Author's Bio: 

Nicole is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, owner/founder of Soul of Therapy, and freelance mental health writer. Check out her work on