With more daylight hours and little to no chance of the weather raining down on your parade, summer is that time of the year to relax and have fun in the sun. However, fun and relaxation doesn’t have to be a complete mental break from life with no end goal. There are plenty of summer activities that are fun, relaxing, and great for the brain.
Summer days aren’t gone yet and there is plenty of time to plan activities and be intentional with reinvigorating your brain. So if summer snuck up on you as it did for me or you need some additional summer ideas, check out the activities below.
If you haven’t already done so by now, take a few days where you organize your day in such a way that allows you to get more sleep. According to the CDC, about 1 out 3 Americans don’t get enough sleep. Poor sleep quality and quantity is not only associated with poor brain performance, but with increases in chronic diseases such as obesity and high blood pressure. If you’re a morning person, plan on winding down and hitting the sleep sack early. If you’re a night owl, plan the start of your day later and with low key activities.
Sleep is not only a time to rejuvenate your body, but a time for your brain to detoxify itself.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, the amount of sleep each person needs varies by age. Check out their website to see if you’re getting the proper amount of sleep.
Getaway to a remote area such as Los Angeles Crescent Highway or go to an observatory to learn about the stars. Stargazing can decrease mental stress, allowing for better cognitive function. Griffith Observatory has free telescope viewings while Mount Wilson Observatory has telescope viewings for $95.
3. ESCAPE ROOM
Love solving puzzles and figuring out patterns? Go with some friends to an Escape Room and save the day with brain power! Puzzle solving requires creative cognition and activates the prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain that helps to processes decision making, planning, and judgement. If you enjoy making puzzles and games, consider designing and hosting YOUR OWN do-it-yourself escape room. If making your own DIY escape room isn’t for you, checkout these Escape Room places: The Exit Game and Escape Room Mystery.
Just as there are benefits to creating music, there are benefits to listening to music. Listening to music can improve brain performance, motor skills, and reorganization following brain injury. Many cities host their own Summer Concert series or dance festivals. So enjoy the summer nights while listening to your favorite tunes.
5. CREATE SOMETHING
Pick up your pencil or your paint brush and allow your imagination to unfold. When you allow yourself to be creative your brain becomes more adaptable, more neuroplastic. If you need something a little mores structured or want to incorporate social time, check out Paint Nite or Plant Nite. They have a variety of paintings and projects that you learn together with other people while enjoying some food or a drink.
Learn from the past by getting up close and personal with history. Learn from the past so your brain can be prepared for tomorrow. Peruse freely through historical collections, check out museum lesson plans and activities, or journal about your museum experience.
7. OUTDOOR SPORTS
Soak up some sun for vitamin D and work on your hand and eye coordination with some athletic activities. Studies show that athletic activities that involve high intensity exercise and moderate continuous exercise improves oxygenation to the brain, improves memory, is associated with better academic performance, and is linked with a lower risk of neurological conditions.
High intensity exercises include basketball, football, running sprints, and swimming sprints. Moderate continuous exercises include walking, light jog, lap swimming.
Ultimately just enjoy the sport of your choice and go for a swim, play some basketball, do body lifts, or go for a round of golf. Any exercise is better than no exercise. No matter what you do, remember to drink plenty of water and take precautions in the full summer sun; especially in the triple digits.
8. ENJOY NATURE
Get away to the great outdoors or nearest park for a hike, walk, run, or leisure lounging.
Immersing yourself into nature has been shown to decrease stress and restore normal neurological function (autonomic nervous system)
9. OUTDOOR MEAL
For many, meal time is family time and what better way to share a meal than to share it outdoors. So make the most of summer and plan for a healthy and delicious meal. For ideas about certain ingredients to use that help to boost brain performance, check out the Top 15 Brain Foods.
Need to explore additional options to optimize your brain performance?