What to do with your free time, now that you have so much

It’s typical, isn’t it? You spend all school year wishing you had a little time off, some space to breathe and relax and not be doing things constantly but, once exams are over and summer starts, you have so much free time you don’t know what to do with yourself. I know I’m certainly getting cabin fever, especially because I haven’t been able to get a job yet (despite lots of trying).

And that’s the dilemma: What to do with yourself. So here’s a list of suggestions/ideas to get you started, in no particular order:

1. Read a book.

read I know this seems revolting after having spent 8 months with your textbooks practically attached to your very being but, with all that studying, when was the last time you read a book just for fun?

If you feel like trying something new, you can ask your friends for recommendations (a simple Facebook status should do it) or even a bookstore worker – you can even tell them you’re not looking for anything specific, and just give whatever they hand you a shot!

Or maybe you want to revisit an old favourite – I know I’m often struck with the temptation to just reread all the Harry Potters, because of nostalgia and remember: it doesn’t have to be anything serious or deep or academic unless that’s what you want. We can all use a little fluff sometimes.

2. Garden.

Photo courtesy of UVic Community Garden.

Photo courtesy of UVic Community Garden.

It’s not too late in the season to plant some green things. You can plant vegetables and fruit for a super-local addition to your meals, or some pretty flowers. And you don’t have to have a big garden! You can take any (big) container and turn it into a patio or windowsill garden. Or you can have small potted plants all over your house – just make sure they get lots of sunlight and that their pots aren’t too small for their roots.

There are many resources and tips on Pinterest and around the internet, or you can ask that relative with the super green thumb (you know the one); they’ll be more than happy to help/inform you. (pro-tip: I really love the Bust DIY Guide To Life, and not just for their gardening section. Seriously. It’s my ‘adulting’ manual.)

3. People Watch.

IMG_1968This one’s free! Look, maybe some of you think it’s creepy, but it’s fascinating to just sit and watch people as they go by. It’s so interesting to hear a snippet of conversation and wonder about the context. Sometimes it’s even inspiring!

At the very least, it’s a great way to get out of your own head and realize that there are other people with their own interesting (or not) lives. So find a busy place, sit on a nice bench and watch the crowds go by. If you’re comfortable with it, you can even write down interesting things you notice or think about as you observe!

Speaking of which maybe you could…

4. Write.

writeLook, it doesn’t have to be good, or even make sense, and you don’t have to keep it once you’re done if you don’t want to. But try it! It gets your mind working creatively without stressing it out, and I often find out that it resolves things I didn’t even realize I needed to work out. You can type on your computer, you can use a nice pen and paper, or just the ball-point on your desk and a notebook.

Maybe try writing fiction, be it an imaginary conversation or a character description or a short story. You could try writing down thoughts or describe something (picture an alien that’s never seen a sunflower, for instance), or a recall memory.

Sometimes, the easiest way to write is to address it to someone. Write a letter to someone, a person you invent or your younger self …or Santa Claus. You might feel silly at first, but trust me, it’s therapeutic.

5. Make a drink.

Pretend to be a bartender for an afternoon! Find a tasty-looking recipe online, the more whimsical the better. Get all the ingredients and make it – for just yourself or for all your friends.

That should get you started, but I’ve got more suggestions! But those are for the next post: Part 2.

Here’s hoping you have a reason to be busy again soon. We all need a little structure in our lives.

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