Nine cool ideas for your summer days

Summer has a wonderful energy. The season's long days and warm temperatures give you plenty of time for the outdoors. Ranging from a vigorous hike to a fun day at the lake to lazing around in a lounge chair with a good book to an outdoor concert, the choices are ample.

For many of you it's tempting to fill the weeks with lots of exciting experiences. But, I guarantee you will enjoy the summer much more if you slow your pace a little and build a balance between exciting and relaxing activities. Taking it easy during the summer can be just as delightful as an adventurous outing. You can do both. So mix it up. Here are nine summery activities to enjoy.

1. Take a wildflower hike. Mountain wildflowers are blooming now and many are at their peak stage. When you come upon a cluster of pink, blue, white and orange wildflowers cascading down a mountain side or coloring a meadow you will sigh in wonder and maybe even feel a little enchanted at the glorious scene. 

2. Start your day early and outside. Find a place to start your day outside in your PJs. Your deck, front porch, backyard or a nearby green space works. Do this before you do anything else. Take a warm beverage and just go sit or stand quietly for a few minutes. For a beverage, you might try warm water with lemon. Its antibacterial, antiviral and immune-boosting properties are powerful. Enjoy the sights and sounds of early morning nature. The birds, the sky, the dew on the grass, the growing daylight, the pink flowers. This simple activity will set the tone for a stress-free day!

3. Take a Nature Me walk with us on August 13th. Walking is one of the easiest and best ways to enjoy summertime. Adding great urban scenery and a group of fun, friendly people equals a fabulous group walk. If you can't join us for our next walk, we design and offer a new one every month in the Seattle area.

4. Kayak your way to feeling good. Being around water is always nurturing. The action of paddling offset by serene scenery is an excellent way to combine exercise with soothing surroundings. It's the best. 

3. Discover a secret beach. Search for coastal hikes that take side trips to out-of-the-way beaches. Or look for beaches that can only be accessed at low tide. Many times after a short walk from the highway you can be exploring your own private beach. Tide pools, sea mammals, coastal forests, seabirds and lovely sand between your toes await you. 

4. See nature as your playground. Explore, be curious. Go with a sense of adventure. Immerse yourself in the mystery and beauty of nature. Local parks, walking or hiking trails, beach fronts, rivers, streams, lakes, ponds, meadows, and wetlands all make good areas for exploration. Start with basic questions. What plants grow here? What might be influencing their growth? Are there animals in the area or birds in the trees? All you really need is a little focus. Observe scenes close-up and from a distance. Before long you will find yourself immersed in nature's inherent beauty.   

6. Find an area outside for journaling. A pretty outdoor place surrounded by plants and flowers is perfect for journaling. The natural healing energy of the place will help slow down your thoughts. If you are new to journaling, start by writing what you are grateful for in your life. A simple list will do and it can be anything from your comfy bed to your children to the charm of the place you are in right now. This is a good way to shift your consciousness into a more positive state. Then you can move on to reflection of any issues you might want to work through. Just make sure that you balance venting and solution oriented thoughts as you write. Places to journal could be a Japanese garden, a beautifully landscaped coffee house, your back yard, or a park.   

7. Visit a u-pick garden for tonight's dinner. Search for local u-pick gardens in your area. Nothing like picking fresh vegetables on a summer day. I did this a couple of weeks ago with friends and it was so much fun to wander through the rows of vegetables picking lettuce, zucchini, cucumbers, herbs and beans. Later we dined on a fresh salad and grilled veggies. Perfect. Just thinking about doing this will make you feel healthy.

8. Create your own summer ritual. Give some thought to something simple that you enjoy doing with a creative bent. Something that helps you unwind, forget your worries, gets you focused fast or gives your day some meaning beyond daily stuff. Then figure out a way to take it outside. Some simple examples might be writing, cooking, listening to music, playing games, planting flowers, drawing, reading or anything that is relaxing to you that is not work. Now here is where the fun begins. Create your own ritual. A ritual is something ceremonial with a series of actions. It's the focus on each action that makes it so special. For example, I love to write. My summer ritual is to write early in the morning, in a beautiful place outside, with a lovely cup of jasmine tea, in a beautiful journal with handmade pages, using a colored pen and meditating for a minute or two before I start. Simple right? I think you get the idea. Your ritual will feel lovely and summery.

9. Stop to smell the roses. I know it's a cliche, but its message is timeless. (Thus a cliche!) Take time to find delight in simple summer pleasures. The smell of the flowers near your home. The sound of a bird singing its little heart out. The way you feel when the sky is blue. The awe inspiring colors of a sunset. The breeze that cools your skin on a warm day. The feel of grass under your bare feet. Tiny flowers that border a trail. The soothing sound of water. The way leaves glow when back lit by the sun. There's so much to love about summer. Find your own delights!

What do you love about summer? Share some of your ideas for activities with us! And if you feel so inclined, share this post with your friends using the button below.