Your brain is like an ice cream cone: you don’t want it to melt in the summer sun! Incorporate these 10 ideas into your summer routine to keep your mind active and your days even more fulfilling.
1. Download a language app
Keep up with the basics of your foreign language class by downloading an app. Duolingo makes practice fun with daily quizzes that will keep your vocabulary fresh and a rewards points system for extra motivation. Nemo and Mindsnacks are two more great choices that offer simple exercises with fun visuals, and you can easily pick up and play at any point during the day.
2. Join a Meet Up group
If you want to add a social element to your summer study, join a Meet Up group! Meet Up is an online social organizer that brings people with the same interests together in their respective areas. Search your location and you’ll find groups dedicated to practicing languages, visiting museums, discussing books and more. SO much more – there is a monthly meet up in Manchester UK just for having coffee and building Legos.
3. Participate in The Great American Read
PBS is on a mission to find the most beloved novel in the USA. Through a public opinion survey of more than 7,000 Americans, PBS narrowed the list to 100 finalists ranging from The Great Gatsby to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and now wants you to cast your vote for #1.
Print out this checklist to see how many you’ve read and challenge yourself to read as many as you can before the voting closes October 2018.
4. Start a summer book club
For the truly voracious readers out there, one or two assigned summer reads won’t be enough. Gather your friends together every month, or every two weeks for the speed readers, to discuss a book of choice. It doesn’t have to be Shakespeare or Finnegan’s Wake: as long as you’re engaging with the written word, you’re doing it right.
5. Help out in your area
Keeping your mind in shape can mean more than studying. Certain research has suggested a positive link between volunteer work and memory retention and may counteract feelings of stress, anxiety and depression.
Need help getting started? Volunteer Match is like Meet Up for social good! Use it to find upcoming volunteer opportunities across a wide variety of fields in your community, from gardening to helping kids with summer reading.
6. Stay active
After a long school year, it is definitely tempting to sit down on the couch June 1 and not move until the back to school picnic, but don’t fall for the trap! Moderate exercise, about 150 minutes per week, provides seemingly endless health benefits, including improvements in mood, memory retention, and critical thinking skills, not to mention the physical structure of the brain itself. Just ask Harvard, the Mayo Clinic, and the NIH.
7. Brainstorm those college essays
Rising Seniors, this one is for you in particular. You don’t need to have your college essays finished by the end of the summer, but you will save so much mental angst in the fall if you start considering what you’d like to write about now.
Start simple with a word cloud, or keep a vision board of designs and subjects that inspire you. If you’re going on an ACIS trip, keep a journal of the moments that affected you most: they can be used in your essays later on.
8. Read a novel in another language
Challenge yourself to read a piece of literature outside of your native language. You’ll pick up plenty of new vocab and the colloquialisms will further enhance the way you understand the language. Reading the translation of a book that you’ve already read in English is an easier place to start, but for a real challenge, pick something where you don’t know what’s coming next.
Photo by Flickr user K Armstrong
9. Try out a hobby (or 5)
Dive into something new, whether it’s weaving, cooking a new recipe, taking a yoga class or just figuring out how to put together your latest IKEA purchase. You never know what you might have a knack for!
10. Travel somewhere new
Even if you’re not hopping a plane to a far away destination, you can still gain many of the benefits that traveling provides. Try visiting the next town over, research quirky attractions in your state or the next state over, or go all out and road trip to a city you’ve always wanted to see. The experience of spending time beyond your own backyard will not only create new memories but keep your mind engaged as you discover new people, places, and things.