Friday , June 01, 2018 - 10:37 AM
Well, summer is here, and with it, a mass of an unknown substance. You say this is free time? Alright, if you insist.
For most of us, summer means a lot more time to do whatever we want. The problem is that a lot of the time, this ends up being related to electronics. Many of us binge-watch on Netflix, Hulu or YouTube. You’d be hard-pressed to find a teen who has no problem whatsoever with not spending more time than they need on electronic devices.
However, this habit can have many ill effects on our health, whether it be disturbed sleep patterns, messed up focus and concentration, or actual addiction. It’s fair to say that most teens are at least a little addicted to their phones, and as such, they miss out on a lot that life has to offer. Real memories are shunted aside in favor of your favorite YouTuber’s video.
With these ideas in mind, it’s easy to get discouraged. After all, it’s easy to turn to the internet when you’re bored, and the habit is hard to break.
But my purpose is not to make anyone ashamed of how much time they spend online. Electronics can be a valuable resource for extremely good pursuits, but only if you use them as a tool. Rather today, I’d like to present seven things you can do this summer — instead of electronics — in order to empower your experiences and live life more fully.
1. Learn something new
As the summer begins, a good way to set it off in the correct direction is to think of things that you have wanted to learn, and find out the steps to learn them.
For example, I would love to be able to sing better in front of people. So I might make a goal to learn some singing warm-ups from a video. Then, each day I can spend time practicing warming up and singing better. Or, I could actually take lessons from a teacher to evaluate and improve that skill even more. In this situation, I am using electronics only to assist my goal, and when I do that, it becomes a huge benefit to me.
So, what do you want to know more about? Do you want to skateboard? Sew? Climb? Whatever it is, find a way to incorporate it into your regular life, then choose actions to become better at it.
2. Play board games
This list had to include something specific, so, when in doubt, pull out a game! Whether it be Monopoly, Life or some weird new game you found, grab a friend and play.
For extra points, bring the game to the park or your front lawn on some beautiful day and enjoy the clear air while you enjoy actual time with someone. Maybe you have an entire closet of games — so make a goal to play them all over the summer! Enjoying nature and spending time with someone — or working on beating your all-time best Yahtzee score, if that’s your thing — will be rejuvenating.
3. Make plans
The hardest thing to deal with in the summer is the middle-of-the-summer heat, where you don’t want to do anything, and you feel like you’ve done nothing.
To break that up, make a plan. Whether it’s a personal day to treat yourself to the whole spa treatment, or a time with your friends to see the new “Incredibles 2,” it’s always good to give yourself something to look forward to. Life can’t be only about the things you have to work on. So take a break from scholarship searching and regular life and enjoy yourself.
4. Get rid of distractions
One thing you can do to reduce your unnecessary time on electronics is to eliminate those things that you get stuck on. Take a look at your device: What do you spend the most time on? Is it the YouTube app, or perhaps some game?
Try uninstalling the offender, or placing it on your phone in a place that’s hard to get to, to put it outside your sight, and correspondingly, outside your mind. Although this is no cure-all, it can certainly help curb your time spent on social media or games to help you use your phone for what it’s meant for: communication.
5. Do service
Take some time to get outside yourself and think of those around you. An act of service doesn’t have to be big, just thoughtful. So, even if you are stuck at home because you can’t drive, then take a look at what can be done in your house, or your neighborhood.
Even if the service seems small, or if no one seems to notice, it’s a good way to feel better. The effects of service on how you feel are well documented, and it really can make a difference in your day and the days of others.
6. Be active
Another thing we sometimes neglect is activity to keep our heart rate healthy. Mayo Clinic recommends 30 minutes of exercise every day, and in the summer, there’s no reason not to do that.
If you don’t know where to start, then experiment with different types of exercise. Maybe you enjoy a morning round of PiYo, a combo of Pilates and yoga. Perhaps an evening bike ride is more to your fancy. Or you may find that weightlifting is your thing.
Whatever you enjoy, do it and have fun with it; uou’ll feel better and have a new activity to fill your time.
7. Set intentions — and recommit to them
Perhaps one of the best ways to start your summer off on the right foot is to take a look at where you want to go. If you don’t decide to stop spending time on electronics specifically, it can be hard to break the habit. So lay out your intentions for how you want to spend your summer. Make them attainable things and habits you can keep.
Then, put your goals somewhere where you’ll see them, and remind yourself each morning of what you are trying to improve on. As long as you are patient with setbacks, and just strive to improve each day, it will be a powerful way to make your summer what you want it to be.
So go and explore. Find the world, and discover new talents, take risks and learn. You don’t have to be held back by bad habits. Just find the ways to use your time in a way that will be to your benefit. Because your summer is worth that. It’s all up to you.
Sierra Clark will be a senior this fall at Venture High School. She plays piano and flute and is an avid reader, but most of all she enjoys learning all about new things. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.