Here’s your ultimate mindful summer bucket list for relaxation and fun in the sun. All you really need are your brain and breath… Adults, kids, and teens can enjoy this bucket list for the summer!
Summer is a time for slowing down – and getting things done in ways that won’t make you sweaty. This more relaxed pace invites mindfulness. Why not make an active choice to make these months a study in Zen living?
What is a bucket list?
A bucket list can be a range of activities from small to big that you want to accomplish. A Mindfulness Bucket List focuses on the small pleasures of life and helps ground you in the present moment. Let’s kick off summer by embracing life, making memories, and focusing on the small things – the things that make us happy.
Bucket lists do not have to cost a thing. Use this Mindfulness Summer Bucket List as a guide, not another thing to complete and check off.
A Mindful Summer bucket list ideas for 2022
1. A Sunrise Stroll
Summer mornings are often the best part of the day. The cool mist bathes your skin in refreshment, belying the heat to follow. Why not take at least part of your daily fitness requirement in the form of an outdoor sunrise stroll while the weather cooperates? Spending time in nature is a great way to connect with your spiritual side.
As you walk, pay attention to how your feet and legs feel as they strike the pavement – or, better yet, the earth or sand. Practice the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 technique as you activate your awareness, naming five things you can see, followed by four you can touch. Follow with three you can hear, two you can smell, and one you can taste. Does your tongue detect the salty tang of the seashore?
2. Daydreaming in a Hammock
Is there anything better than spending a sunny afternoon in a hammock, perhaps engrossed in a juicy novel? Spending more time outdoors has considerable health advantages, like helping you produce natural vitamin D and boosting immune function.
As you daydream, start by trying to clear your mind. Do so by focusing your awareness on your breath. Practice boxed breathing by inhaling for a 4-count, pausing, exhaling for a 4-count, then hesitating again before taking your next breath. Concentrate on your counting for a minute or two, then let your mind wander, observing your thoughts as you might on a movie screen. What scenes play out there?
3. Exploring Your Artistic Side
Did you collect a bucket of seashells the last time you visited the shore? If so, why not use them to decorate a picture frame that holds a photographic memory of your trip? You can also create a shadow box.
You don’t have to be the next Bob Ross to enjoy spending time on your patio or your favorite nature retreat with an easel. Who cares if your creations ever see the inside of a gallery? Enjoy the sensation of your brush gliding over the canvas as you recreate the vista before you.
4. Making Cloud Critters With Your Kids
If you have little ones, there’s no need to hog all the fun for yourself. Invite them outdoors with you for a quiet afternoon of making cloud critters. Lie back, feeling the cool of the dew on your skin as you sink into the grass. What do you see?
Challenge your little ones to identify the most creative shapes. You can even have a cloud scavenger hunt, challenging them to find one that looks like a cat or a bird. Spend a few minutes wondering aloud what it would be like if people had wings.
Here’s another activity that’s fun and mindful for the entire family. Many public museums feature beautifully manicured grounds complete with various water features and the fowl that frequent them. Many of these tame creatures have no fear, making a trip here almost like a petting zoo for the littles.
Please leave your stale bread at home, though. This food can rot and grow toxic mold, sickening the poor birds. Instead, take a bag full of seeds and long grains, like rice. Lettuce is another favorite and ducks seem particularly fond of kale.
Sensory experiences invite mindfulness. You engage all of your senses, exploring how an experience feels, looks, smells, and tastes. If you go down to the shore this summer, try this activity in the surf.
Take off your shoes and wade along the shoreline. Feel the texture of the sand as it squishes between your toes. What do the ocean’s waves sound like? What feelings do they evoke? How does the water affect you as it sloshes against your legs? Can you feel the tickle of seaweed against your ankle? Delve into this sensory experience.
7. Hike on a trail you’ve never taken before
New and novel experiences carve stronger neural pathways in our brains. It can be as simple as hiking a new trail for the first time. You don’t have to travel far to find hiking trails. You can find trails near you using this app. The experience combines both adventure and serotonin-boosting exercise all in one.
8. Picnicking in the Park
Have you heard of the mindfulness exercise that involves slowly eating a square of chocolate? You can amplify it by taking it outdoors as you enjoy the summer weather with the ones you love.
Pack a picnic lunch and head to your nearest park. If you have children, include plenty of games for them to play. Linger over your meal for hours. Start by setting out the perfect layout, maybe stopping to watch a stray ant cross your blanket as you muse about the critter’s wee mission.
If you’re with a group, why not make this activity potluck-style? Everyone can bring a favorite dish. Sample each one, slowing down to mindfully explore the flavor blend, and compliment the chef (of course).
9. Working in Your Garden
Gardening is an inherently mindful activity. You get lost in the present moment as your hands till the rich earth, feeling its coolness between your fingers. Observe each baby plant as you cup it in your hands, waiting to place it in the ground. See how delicate the root system is? Marvel at how something so tiny as a pepper seed can grow into lifegiving sustenance.
Treat each plant as you would an infant, nurturing and caring for it as you prune the branches. Use natural pest control methods, like ladybugs, and watch as they keep your roses safe by devouring aphid pests. Wonder at the cycle of life.
I love tending to my summer hydrangeas, each blushing bloom brings me so much happiness!
10. Sprucing Up Your Homestead
Mowing the lawn and repairing your deck can become mindful activities with the right attitude. Hands-on work requires you to stay in the present moment, lest you risk injury. Try to enjoy tending to the homestead where you spend so many happy hours.
Sit back after completing a portion of your patio remodel and admire your work. Isn’t it amazing what human hands can accomplish with a little dedication? When you finish your labor, rest while you savor the beverage of your choice and bask in the glow of accomplishment.
11. Pick berries at a local farm and enjoy them with homemade ice cream
Some of my favorite summer memories with the kids involve going to the U-Pick berry farms near Dallas. You can pick strawberries, blueberries or peaches during the summer months. Can’t find farms near you? Try a local farmer’s market.
This is one of my favorite activities (locally or when we travel) especially in the summertime when the market is a literal feast of nature’s bounty. Peruse the stalls, talk to farmers, and stock up on flowers, fruits, berries, tomatoes, eggplants, zucchini, and more. Plan your dinner that night based on what veggies look best.
There is nothing better than a dish of peach or strawberry with homemade ice cream on a hot summer day! You can make it with simple ingredients that you already have at home. All you need is some rock salt, a couple of cylinders and muscle power, no fancy machinery is needed!
12. Clambake on the Beach
Summer is the best time for enjoying the gifts of the sea. If you’re an angler, species like spotted seatrout, red and black drum, and flounder flourish in the waters off the eastern coast. Even if you prefer to haul in your catch at your local market, you can cook it outdoors, sparing your house the scent of salmon for several days.
Make this meal more mindful by having a clambake on the beach. Bring along some sides, like this lobster Caribbean salad that combines various textures and flavors in one dish.
Slow down and savor it mindfully, starting with the cooking. Observe the clams as they begin to open and the corn as it begins charring over the fire. While your bake cooks, savor your salad, rolling the creamy taste of the avocado on your tongue, exploring the difference in crunchiness between the peanuts and crisp cabbage. Finish with a bite of lobster before digging into your clams, noticing how the flavors complement each other.
13. Yoga on a Mountaintop
Yoga is an inherently mindful activity. Taking it outdoors only elevates your pleasure and health benefits. Inhaling the yummy phytoncides plants emit gives your immune system an extra boost to complement your physical exercise.
You don’t necessarily need to find a mountaintop, but the view will enhance your practice if you do. Bring your mat or get on the raw ground. Many people believe that putting your bare skin in contact with the earth connects you with electrons that cleanse your body of harmful free radicals, easing chronic pain and stress.
14. Sunset Meditation
Ending your day with meditation is ideal for adjusting your mindset for a night of pleasant dreams. You don’t need any props or equipment, although you might enjoy a pillow for comfort, and even a blanket if you enjoy relaxing in savasana or another resting pose.
You can perform a loving-kindness meditation to evoke feelings of empathy and appreciation for those you hold most dear. You can expand this to humanity as a whole, filling your spirit with positive vibes and sending that energy out into the universe before you slumber.
If you need a bit of help getting started, you can find scores of guided versions on YouTube to sink into your Zen groove. Channels like Great Meditations and The Mindful Movement can transport you to another world as your brain waves calm from beta to alpha.
15. Midnight Stargazing
Summer nights are made for love – and gazing up in perfect silence at the stars. You don’t need to know anything about astronomy to look up at the evening sky with wonder, contemplating all the other worlds. What might be happening on them?
If you want to take this mindful hobby further, invest in a telescope. If you don’t have the cash, check your local library. They might have one you can rent for a night for a reasonable fee – sometimes even free.
The Ultimate Mindful Bucket List for the Summer
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The long, lazy summer days invite you to slow your pace and contemplate the present moment. It’s the perfect season to practice mindfulness.
Consider this article your ultimate mindful summer bucket list. What activities will you do today to soothe your soul?
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Author Bio: Cora Gold has a passion for living life to the fullest and pursuing happiness in all she does. As Editor-in-Chief of women’s lifestyle magazine Revivalist, she loves sharing her inspiration with others.