My step-son kindly reminded me that he only has two more weeks of school until summer vacation. So my obvious question to him was, “So what do you want to do this summer?”
“Just relax and play video games”, he replied.
The A-type personality in me cringed that he didn’t want to jam pack his days with camps and activities but then I remembered that the moment you leave school and become employed full time you lose the traditional sense of summertime – a time to relax, be carefree and soak up some much-needed sun!
Unfortunately, we can’t all go back to high school (although I’m sure that would be some people’s nightmare), we can try to bring back a little bit of that care-free spirit we had every year school was out and we were free to make our own plans.
This year, I have vowed to myself that I will make the most of my summer and here’s how I’m going to do it (and you can too)!
Take advantage of long weekends
I am very fortunate that my employer provides all employees 3 weeks of vacation when they start. However, I actually like to take two of these weeks in the winter time (right before Christmas and leading into the New Year). This only leaves me with one week to play around with.
So if you’re trying to maximize your vacation days, a really good way to do that is to use statutory holidays as a way to get an extra-long vacation. I like to book off either the Friday or the Tuesday so that I can squeeze in a quick trip.
If you work for an employer who provides flex time, it’s also a good way to add time to your Monday to Thursday so you can take Fridays off during the summer months. Long weekends every week!
In case you are not already aware of when the remaining two summer holidays are, I’ve included them below:
- Canada Day (Monday July 2)
- Civic Holiday (Monday August 6)
Use your lunchtime to get some air
I’ve mentioned it before, but I love my job. However, what this love of my job often does is that it makes me lose track of time and sometimes work right through my lunch. This wasn’t so bad in the winter time when I would avoid the outside like the plague. However, now that the weather is beautiful and I have an amazing view of it all, I should get outside and enjoy it.
Depending on the length of your lunch, you can do a number of different things:
- Meet up with a girlfriend (or a few) for lunch
- Take a walk (or run)
- Check out any local attractions
Take time to unwind during lunch time – it will make your day much more enjoyable and it’s great for your productivity!
Meal prep (so you have time in the evenings)
In my last article I provided some of my go to breakfast and lunch ideas. These are great for ensuring you have more time after work to do things you actually want to do, rather than packing your lunch and making dinner.
When you spend Sunday (or Saturday) preparing your meals for the week, you will be blown away of how much time you will save yourself in the evenings. You’ll never want to go back – ever!
If you want to learn about the basics of Meal Planning, check out my beginner’s guide.
Take up a summer activity
Nothing gets you outside like a planned activity where others are depending on you. A few years ago, I joined a summer softball league and it was a lot of fun! Whether you get a team together or head out solo, there is a little something for everyone.
In Toronto, there is the Toronto Sport & Social Club. Registration for summer closed on June 12th, however there are still some activities available (they are always looking for women so there are still lots of spots!).
In Ottawa, we have the Ottawa Sport & Social Club. Registration for mid-summer is now open. If you’re not able to commit for an entire season, check out the drop-in sessions for basketball and beach volleyball.
Last year two friends and I took part in a 5K Foam Race. It was so much fun and a great way to get outside, get some exercise and make some great memories!
Be a tourist in your town
Summer is the perfect time to be a tourist – so why not explore the parts of your city you tend to overlook? Check out my post on how to be a tourist in your own town.
In addition, summer time brings ALL OF THE FESTIVALS! My most favourite time of the year.
Some of my favourites include:
- Ottawa Fringe Festival (this one has a special place in my heart because it was Chris and my first official date!)
- Ottawa Bluesfest (FOO FIGHTERS ARE COMING… that is all.)
- Ottawa Rib Fest (best break in my day when working in the summer!)
For a full list of Ottawa events, check out Ottawa Festivals.
For a full list of Toronto events, check out the upcoming Toronto Festivals.