Why Summer Feels So Good (And How To Make The Most Of It)

In the spring, it’s easy to look around and see the signs of a new beginning. There’s a whisper of promise reminding us that, after the long dark months indoors, our liberation is coming. As kids, it usually meant fleeing the confines of a classroom to enjoy warm, sweet days exploring our neighborhoods till the sun went down.

As adults, things are different. We may have to work through the summer, but the excitement never really leaves us, does it? Our layers of clothing, boots and mittens get pushed to the back of the closet as we make way for more breathable, minimal attire. The slow cookers are shelved and the barbecues make a return.

For a few glorious months, we allow ourselves to enter a sort of vacation mentality as a collective. When mail arrives late or phone calls go unreturned, we assume it’s because someone’s on holiday. We’re more flexible and forgiving with our time, even if we’re still going to work every day. Why is that, and how can you make the most of it?

Here Comes the Sun

When the skies are gray, it’s not uncommon to hear people grumbling about feeling low on both energy and happiness. Some even suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, a condition characterized by an increase in depression during the winter months. For many, this could be the result of a lack of vitamin D, often referred to as the “sunshine vitamin,” during that darker time of year.

As summer rolls around, we are more exposed to the sunshine. While some foods can help us keep our levels up, there’s nothing that can quite replace the natural power of the sun’s warmth on our skin. Our bodies soak in the nutrients and immediately begin producing vitamin D, which delightfully boosts our mood. Isn’t nature amazing?

Shed The Layers

No matter how much you like your winter accessories, you’re probably not sad to see them go into storage for a few months. It’s just so much more effort to have to pull on a pair of boots and a heavy coat before heading out for the day. You can feel literally and figuratively weighed down.

All of that goes away in the summer when, at most, you’ve got to carry a light jacket or hoodie in case the wind gets a bit chilly. You can even slip on sandals or flip flops without having to bend over to tie your laces. It’s so freeing and therapeutic to have our skin exposed to the elements after being covered for so long.

Body Movin’

There’s a palpable buzz that comes along with summer. It just feels like everyone is going somewhere. The patios at your favorite restaurants are overflowing, people are jogging and biking through the streets, and green spaces are filled with folks lounging on blankets. The planet really does feel so much more alive during these months.

As an added perk, being more physically active makes us happier. When our heart rates increase, our body sees this as a potential stressor, and then compensates by releasing endorphins. This is why we often feel less stressed and more clear-minded after engaging in exercise.

Food, Glorious Food

One of the best things about summer is the food! Unlike the heavy meals we eat during the rest of the year, meals during the warmer months tend to be simple and highlighted by seasonal delights. Whether you prepare a feast of fresh fruits and veggies or roast hot dogs over a campfire, everything just feels light and easy.

Of course, it’s also a time of sweet indulgences. Many try to beat the heat with cool treats such as fresh-squeezed lemonade, slushies and ice cream. If you’re worried about the extra calories you’re racking up, you can always hit the pool and swim a few laps. That’s the beauty of summer!

Seize the Day

Whether you’ve got time off or have to work through summer, don’t miss the opportunity to live your life to the fullest. Do the things you’ve always wanted to try and check local events guide for even more inspiration. You don’t want to look back and wish you had done more with your time.

So, hike that trail, run the race and grab a Sno-Cone. Fall in love with the world and people around you. Put the phone away and be present. These moments are fleeting. Cherish them.

Jeanne Croteau

Jeanne Croteau is an adjunct psychology and social sciences professor as well as a contributing writer for ForbesLife, Social Moms, and more. As a married mother of six, she strongly believes in living a healthy lifestyle and enjoys being outdoors, cooking, and watching hockey.