A few days into summer, everyone’s (okay, maybe not everyone) favorite season, and it’s never too early to start planning for summer projects. Ditch your usual summer activities, take a break from the daily grind of life and do something worthwhile.
Step outside your comfort zone and be more mindful and involved in caring for the environment. Stop paying lip service to charitable causes and act on your concerns. Improve or learn skills that count.
Mindful summer projects last long after the season has gone. And from making them, you emerge a more aware person, showing kindness and caring for family, friends and the people you work with. You learn to be grateful for what you have and all these lead to a happier life ahead.
6 Mindful summer projects that you can do:
Learn how to make eco-friendly paper straws.
Make eco-friendly paper straws and do your bit to contribute to a sustainable environment. Five hundred million plastic straws are used daily in the US alone, and they are killing whales, leaking out toxic chemicals that seep into our ground waters, and causing birth defects and other deadly diseases.
Paper straws are biodegradable and a good alternative to the plastic ones. The materials are readily available and don’t cost much. You can learn from the several lessons for DIY paper straws online, and they’re not too complicated either. Make lots for yourself (they’re single use, after all) and give or sell to friends and interested buyers.
A caveat: some types of paper or glue may not be food-safe. Do your research when choosing them.
Here’s a video tutorial to use as a guide:
Grow succulents for your house.
Succulents are those plants with thick stems and leaves that you see in pots on your friend’s windowsills or gardens, or in offices. They can be bought in local garden supply stores and online shops, along with the materials needed for planting them.
You won’t regret growing succulents as your summer project. Not only do they brighten up a room, but they’re also easy to grow and are low maintenance. Put them in a spot where they can get sunshine, like near a window facing east, and they don’t need watering daily.
The health benefits of succulents include increasing the oxygen in your house (plants breathe in CO2 and breathe out oxygen,) improve the humidity by releasing their water supply, and are great stress relievers, too. After a day’s work or early in the morning, sit down and meditate for a few minutes with your succulents, and feel the calm wash over you.
Volunteer for a cause.
A noble summer project to take on is volunteering. Mindful of other’s misfortunes, volunteering is one way of giving back to society or paying it forward. There are many places where you can look for charities that need and accept volunteers. Check out your church, community center, or local organizations where you can offer your time and services. Choose advocacy that is close to your heart. The list is endless.
If the idea of joining an organization doesn’t appeal to you, you can offer to clean the park in your community on weekends or help look after children in a daycare center.
Volunteering is good for you. It increases the oxytocin levels in your body, making you calmer and reducing stress. You become less focused on your own problems when you see others in much worse conditions. It makes you happier and gives you a sense of purpose different from what you get from your job or school.
Recycle your old denim jeans into cute cloth wine bags.
When you cut your cast-off denim jeans to make into shorts, don’t throw away the leg parts. With a mini sewing machine, some basic sewing tools and a ton of creativity, you can repurpose the jeans bottoms into pretty wine bags.
Tip: Bleach the fabric for a whitish effect (denim usually doesn’t get snow-white from bleaching) to go with the trending white canvas tote bags. Sew striped, dotted or printed fabric as top edge and use zigzag or other decorative stitches to add flair.
Keep in mind that bleach weakens the fabric, so don’t soak your denim in the bleach for too long. I chose this post that teaches you how to recycle your cut denim bottoms into a wine bag because it’s easy to follow.
Go on a spiritual retreat.
Set aside a few days of your summer for a spiritual retreat. You’re planning for traveling and beach vacations. Why not a meditation retreat, too? Sand, sun, and sea are fun and effective get-away-from-it-all destinations.
But for the soul, go off the grid, live in simplicity, silence, and stillness. A few days of feeding your soul does wonders for your perspectives in life and brings you serenity. You can find these places online. Go east to India or stay closer to home in the West.
Learn a computer course.
Why computer? Because it runs the world? Although you have a choice of learning other subject matters (language, culinary arts, etc.) for your summer project, a short course in IT will be useful for you. You find uses for it in your work. You can also use your knowledge to find extra income on the side, and you can take it further and make it a jump off point for a career change.
Popular online learning sites include w3schools, Udemy and codecademy. Read about them before diving in, so you don’t get overwhelmed.
You can start with the basics if you’re totally clueless about computer usage or learn how to use the office programs of Microsoft, Apple or Google. If you have some exposure, your interest might lie in web development, coding, and other short courses.