This has been an unusual summer, but while COVID-19 may have caused you to cancel your plans, but there are still many ways you can make the most of your stay-at-home summer. It's understandable to dwell on and feel disappointed about missed opportunities, but if you have the bandwidth and desire, you may find great joy in using this summer as the time to do the things you are usually too busy to do. Rather than dwelling on this time as the summer of missed opportunities, you can turn it into the summer of exploration by diving into the following areas:
Explore an old or new interest
Books provide a great avenue for one to cultivate their interests, either by developing an existing interest or discovering a new one. Whether you drawn to history, science, literature, or the arts, reading will allow you to engage deeply with a breadth of different topics. Maybe there is a book you have been wanting to read but haven’t gotten the chance to, or a certain author that struck you and whose other works you have yet to peruse. Your stay-at-home summer could be an opportunity to finally read that book that has been waiting patiently on your shelf, to learn about that subject you have always found fascinating but never had time to study, or to expose yourself to a new genre of literature that might just change the way you think. You can also explore your interests by finding How-To YouTube videos or taking an online course through MasterClass, Coursera, Skillshare, or other online platforms.
Some of the safest spaces we can explore in these difficult times are those outdoors. This summer offers a chance to explore the natural areas around you: hiking trails, nature parks, or even your own garden. With stay-at-home orders and physical distancing often resulting in increased screen time, these spaces offer a way to unplug and take in the warm summer weather. Beyond providing a change in scenery, getting outside has been shown to benefit both your physical and mental health. And who knows? You may just find your new favorite spot right in your backyard.
Explore Healthy Eating
With the chaos of commutes and commitments, our relationship with food often takes a backseat. For most of us, however, increased time at home also means increased time with access to a kitchen—a bountiful ground for exploration. By implementing new cooking techniques or varying your diet, you can transform your time in the kitchen from a chore into an adventure. Additionally, cooking is an activity the whole family can get involved in, so look for ways you can learn, teach, and explore in the kitchen with those you are spending more time with.
Explore your relationships
This summer’s lack of events and gatherings naturally leads to feelings of loneliness and
isolation. Yet physical distancing does not necessarily mean social separation. Particularly now, a phone call or video chat can be immense, whether it be to rekindle an old friendship or simply make someone feel less alone. With the whole world at home, everyone is eager to pick up their phones, why not give your friends and family a reason to?
In spite of the disappointments this summer has brought with it, there are still things we can do to make the most of our unplanned summer. Through our interests, our hobbies, our
relationships, there is still ample room to grow and experience newness. There is a world to
explore around us, even if it is a little smaller now. Sometimes it is the unexpected adventure or unplanned activity that makes the most lasting memory.
Sarah Satinsky is the Upper School Counselor & Learning Services Coordinator. Sarah is a Licensed Professional Counselor of Mental Health (LPCMH) in Delaware and was in private practice in Texas before moving into the school counseling world. She earned her bachelor's degree from The University of Texas at Austin and received her master's degree from Southern Methodist University.