With the exception of a break just in time for fireworks down by the waterfront on the Fourth of July, it rained the entire holiday weekend, from start to finish. Truthfully, this comes as no surprise. After all, once July arrives, summertime in Florida pretty much becomes two things (and contrary to popular belief, I’m not talking about booze and bikinis, or Disney World). Allow me to break it down for you in case you haven’t experienced the glory firsthand.
Number one — Heat.
Yes, it’s sweltering here. And please don’t even get me started on the humidity.
Number two — Rain.
It gets so hot that the sky just has to cry an endless amount of tears about it.
When it rains and it rains and it rains even more, it tends to put a damper on any outdoor plans that you thought you had. But let’s be honest, it’s so hot out there you weren’t sure you were going to get out and do them anyway, am I right? Instead of getting bummed out, why not simply take advantage of laying low?
Regardless of where you live, here are 10 Productive Things to Do When it Rains this summer, that is, when you aren’t at work and have no other obligations looming.
1. Cook a Meal.
If you’re like me, you tend to get in a rush and grab food while you are on the go all too frequently. And your bank balance serves as a constant reminder of this. Let’s face it, your body needs fuel, and cooking a meal at home is a great way to take a little extra time and care preparing that fuel, while it’s raining. Try your hand at a new recipe, or maybe resurrect your favorite dish from childhood you haven’t treated yourself to in a while. If you need to call your mom to ask her how to make it, or just for some positive reinforcement—hey, no shame! If you feel up for sharing your completed dish, consider inviting your friends or family over for a taste test. Warning: if your friends or family already live with you, sharing will be mandatory.
2. Stay in Bed.
With an unprecedented four days off this holiday weekend and nonstop rain, I took advantage of what I decided was the prime opportunity to catch up on some good sleep. Some say it’s not possible to catch up. I say, why not at least try. Staying in bed until noon is virtually unheard of for me, but this weekend, I did it. I stayed in bed. I did a little cuddling. I did even more snuggling. I curled up when at all possible, closed my eyes and listened to the rain pelt against my window. Sometimes if you snooze you lose, but I say, when it rains, if you snooze, you couldn’t be more of a winner.
3. Make a List.
Clearly you know what my list is (this one). However, your list doesn’t have to be one that you opt for sharing with others. And it can contain whatever you’d like. It can be a list of trips you want to take, people you’ve been meaning to see, stories you want to write, items you need at the store, activities on your life bucket list, and so on and so forth. Tip: if you make a list of action items you want to knock out, set a deadline to be sure that you actually do them. Remember, a little incentivizing never hurts.
4. Update your Resume.
Or update your blog, portfolio, or anything else of this nature you keep putting off. It never takes as long as you think it does, and if it does, so what? It’s raining outside anyway, remember? You aren’t missing out on any time in the blistering summer sun. Once whatever it is has been updated, send it to a friend, family member, colleague or mentor for outside feedback. Criticism, when constructive, is generally crucial. Especially since everyone makes oversights when it comes to their own work.
5. Clean it out (or off).
Maybe it’s the desk drawer that’s overflowing and will barely close, the kitchen pantry of expired food that’s starting to contribute an unwelcomed aroma that’s wafting about your apartment, the clothes in your closet that don’t fit, or possibly all of those scattered files flooding your iMac desktop that you haven’t been able to bring yourself to categorize just yet. Whatever it is that you’ve been avoiding tending to. Clean it out. Clean it off. Just clean it up.
6. Play Catch up
. Whether or not this involves getting a jumpstart on your work for the week is entirely left up to you and your discretion alone. For me, organizing means getting “caught up” on everything I feel is outstanding or unsettled. Sometimes this includes paying bills, returning an email, a phone call, or purchasing groceries. Other times it can extend to something a bit larger like finishing a project, or even looking ahead and setting aside a weekend for a road trip.
7. Read Anything
. Be it finishing a book you’ve been working on for a while, or simply rereading your favorite magazine cover to cover, a quiet weekend indoors lends the time needed to read what you currently have on your hands, and to scope out some new literature to add to your list. If the rain slacks up and you get the urge for a change of reading scenery, head to your local independent bookstore (or Barnes & Noble) for a coffee, a comfy chair and to test out or purchase a new read or two.
8. Reflect on Something
. More often than not, it’s difficult to escape the noise that floods the days of our lives, to re-center, refocus and reflect on whatever it is in our lives that needs attention or a little TLC. This “whatever” might be challenges that you are facing, things that have occurred in your life that you have not taken proper time to digest, or daunting choices that need to be carefully weighed. Regardless of the circumstance, reflection is beneficial for both peace of mind and overall state of well-being.
9. Take a Bath.
Dim the lights, light the candles, and pour yourself a cold glass of wine, coffee, tea, beer, sparkling water, champagne, all natural fruit juice or whatever you’d like to sip on while you are fully submerged in a warm, bubbly bath. There is nothing more relaxing than sprawling out in the bathtub and putting your feet up, especially when it’s raining outside (just don’t do it when it’s lightning).
Be with your family. Be with your friends. Be with yourself. Just be and enjoy being. It’s funny that the simplest of ideas are often the hardest to execute. Personally, there’s nothing that makes me feel alive quite like practicing the art of simply existing, breathing and functioning without falling prey to the idea that I have to be constantly going and doing, or trying to figure out everything in my life, all at once. I can’t say it happens often, but when it does, “just being” sure feels a lot like bliss.