The transition between summer and fall can be tough when the pace of your life changes. The balance between school, work, and life flips upside down as school starts and responsibilities build up.
Life gets busy and the things with due dates and deadlines quickly take priority over the fun things.
You have to do what you have to do to pass your classes, keep up with work to support yourself, and whatever other responsibilities fill your time, but you also have to remember that “you can’t pour from an empty cup.” If you don’t do the things that fill you up with joy, you will burn out. You will lose motivation and those items sitting on your to-do list will become harder to complete.
When you do activities, see places, and hang out with the people that make you happy, you are benefiting yourself in so many ways. You’re caring for your mental health, restoring your motivation and productivity, and filling your mind with happy memories which you can look back on and smile about.
No matter how busy life gets, never stop doing things just for fun. But for the extra busy times, here are 10 things that will do nothing but bring you joy without taking away from your limited time and energy.
Run Really Fast Down a Hill
A few weeks ago I was watching the sunset while sitting in the grass at the top of this hill. It was a beautiful night and an even better sunset, and as I was sitting there, I had this strong urge to run down the hill. So I got up and started running down the hill quite literally into the sunset. I didn’t have shoes on and my hair was blowing behind me. I ended up doing it like 5 times because it felt so freeing. It feels like you’re running away from all of your stressors and problems, plus you go really, really fast.
I’d recommend finding a nice grassy hill rather than a sidewalk or street just in case you get going too fast and take a tumble.
Call Your Friend
Anything you do, you can do while talking to your best friend on the phone.
When there’s no time in your busy day to see your friend's faces and lighten up when they make you laugh, call them.
Whether you’re doing homework, running around the house doing chores, or shopping at the grocery store, take them along with you and make those boring tasks way more fun.
They can laugh with you while you rant and assure you that you will get it all done and be fine. They can remind you of your plans coming up so you have something to look forward to. Even when you're deep in focus and it goes silent on both ends of the phone for long periods of time, it’s your friend so it doesn't matter. It might help ease the stress of whatever you’re doing and help you finish quicker.
Go On a Bike Ride at Night
Or at sunset, on a trail, during the day, early in the morning- whatever sounds fun to you.
I spent countless nights this past summer biking around at night with my friend, and it was so much fun. The streets were empty, the stars were out, and we just biked around talking and laughing without a care in the world.
Even when we both had long, stressful days, one of us would text “let’s go bike around,” and we would just have fun for a little while before we both went back home and went to bed happy.
Try it out sometime, even if it’s just for 15 minutes.
Watch the Sunrise
The sun rises every day.
In other words, while the world is still quiet and most people are still asleep, the sun comes up and the entire sky gets painted.
It is absolutely jaw-dropping and you have the opportunity to see it every single day. Especially as we move into fall and the sunrise is getting later every morning, make it a point to watch it every once in a while.
You can do it however you want to. You can wake up with the sun and get an early start to your productive day, watch it from bed or from your window in your pajamas while enjoying your coffee, go on a sunrise hike/walk, write in a journal or paint while you watch it, or just roll out of bed to see the pretty sky then go right back to sleep afterward.
Make Dinner With Your Friend(s)
You have to eat dinner, either way, so make the cooking part a little more fun. Just get together with your friends, cook dinner, sit down to eat together, and forget about everything else for a little while.
You can turn on some music and dance around, catch up on everyone’s lives, and just have a lot of fun doing something you have to do every night anyway. It doesn’t require a lot of planning so it’s the perfect thing to do when you and all of your friends are busy.
Go For a Drive
Get in your car and go for a little drive. You can drive to your favorite spot, a pretty view, or just drive around with no destination in mind. Roll down the windows, play your favorite music, and just remind yourself how many beautiful places and possibilities there are in this world.
Have a Conversation With Someone Unexpected
We all have that neighbor who we know nothing about except, well, where they live. When you get a chance, stop and have a conversation with them. A neighbor of mine sits on his porch all day, every day, and a little while ago I decided to stop and say hi. He looked up from the poem he was writing and invited me to sit down with him. In the pauses between his stories from when he was young, he gave me beautiful advice about love, dreams, and never losing passion in this life. It felt like a conversation out of a movie, and I was so beyond happy I decided to say hi.
At school, make a bit of time to have a conversation with your favorite teacher, or maybe the one you’ve never really spoken to before. Reach out to that friend you drifted from or that relative who’s kind of a mystery.
When life gets stressful, sometimes all it takes to bring you back to peace is a reminder of how many good people are out there and how powerful human connection is.
Watch the Sunset
Just like the sunrise, this one happens every single day. And even better, there’s a way higher chance you’re awake for this one.
Watch it however and wherever you want. Personally, I have a mini bucket list just for ways to watch the sunset. It’s a list of different places to drive to watch the sunset, hikes to do, and different activities to do during it, like writing, painting, doing yoga, swimming, etc.
Find a New Place You Haven’t Explore Yet
The greatest thing about this life and the Earth we live on? It is literally impossible to run out of places to explore.
Even in the area you live, I guarantee there is a boatload of places you haven’t even seen yet, or at least not explored fully.
If there are any places that popped into your mind as you read that, make note of that. Consider making a mini bucket list just for this- a list of places near you that you would like to explore.
A quick google search will lead you to travel blogs and other sources that may give you a few ideas of places to explore.
Go on a walk around where you live and just see what you come across. Take new turns and just keep walking until you come across something new. Even if it’s just a new spot beside the creek you see every day or a new way to get to your favorite coffee shop, it just might make you really happy and give you a new little memory.
Focus on the Little Things
There is an endless list of things for you to fall in love with. Even as you sit here reading this, I guarantee you can look around you and count 3 things that make you smile.
When life starts to feel like it’s moving too fast, make yourself slow down just for a moment to notice all the little things that make you happy. If you’re doing homework, don’t forget to light your favorite candle and always let yourself doodle in the corner of your paper. On your study breaks, stare at the sky instead of your phone; take a minute to step outside, close your eyes, face the sun, and feel the sunshine pour down on you; take a quick walk to get outside, see the intricacy of every tree you see, and watch people pass by you to remember how many good people there are in the world that you haven’t even met yet.
There are so many simple things to fall in love with every single day. Let yourself slow down enough to notice.