Tips for Finding the Right Place to Enjoy Your Summer
Last week, we sat down with our newest consulting teachers to discuss the activities that help them make the most out of their summers. But just as important as how you spend your time is where you spend it: finding a place where you can truly enjoy yourself is a critical element in getting into the right mindset to relax and recharge. So, whether you are a homebody or have the travel bug, here are some tips from our consulting teachers to help you use your environment to enjoy your summer to the fullest.
Regardless of whether you are traveling to a place you call home or a place you have never been before, sometimes a change of scenery is the ultimate way to take a break from work.
Michael Kaponyas: The first big road trip my fiancée and I took was last summer. We drove down to West Palm Beach in Florida. It was an exhausting drive but definitely worthwhile. I saw many beautiful things and I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. I spent the summer floating around my cousin’s pool. She had just gotten a puppy, so I just hung out with the dog, read books, floated, drank water, and enjoyed the sunshine. It really fed the soul.
Sarah Tiamiyu: I am Canadian and so I go home to Edmonton, Alberta. I’m looking forward to it because I have not been home in two and a half years. I get to enjoy my parents’ cooking and my mom puts her grandma hat on and I get to just unplug. We go up to the mountains where to me it’s what a quintessential summer should feel like when you can wear shorts and a T-shirt and feel comfortable without desperately searching for a pool.
In the right quantities, fresh air and sunshine can powerfully shift your mood and perspective. Luckily, both are abundant during the summer months and are available everywhere.
Susanna Mellor: I live right at the base of the Wasatch Mountains in Utah so I hike pretty much every day, sometimes twice a day. We also have beautiful canyons here, and I think I’ve probably hiked every trail in the canyon near our house. Hiking is one of the things that I do in which I get into a complete flow, just by putting one step in front of the other and truly not thinking about anything else. It’s so rejuvenating. Plus, it’s also exercise, which I don’t get much of during the school year.
Vonn Nguyen: We live thirty minutes from the beach, so going to the beach is always something my family and I love to do to rejuvenate. Our beaches are cold where we live, so bonfires are super fun in the summer. My daughters are both in high school, but I can always get them to join me at the beach with a bonfire and s’mores.
Michael Kaponyas: I find any chance I have to be in or around bodies of water brings me the most joy. My favorite investment that I made when I was in Florida was a foam-top surfboard that I brought to a beautiful, secluded beach. There were no real waves to ride on, but it just felt really relaxing to paddle out.
Explore Your Surroundings
No matter where you live or travel, the world around you is full of all kinds of surprises. The long days and warm nights of summer are the ideal time to seek those surprises out.
Susanna Mellor: I love to explore local farmers markets and take advantage of whatever produce is good. I probably buy peaches at farm stands around the city every day over the summer. I make things with them, like cobbler, and I eat them for breakfast or for a snack.
Vonn Nguyen: I’m fortunate enough to live in the San Francisco Bay Area where there’s always something new to discover. San Francisco is very hilly, so at some point the city built staircases. They’re just hidden in neighborhoods, and what residents have done throughout the years is to mosaic the stairs to beautify them. I love finding and hiking those hidden staircase mosaics in San Francisco every summer. They are so beautiful.
Enjoy Being Home
You don’t have to travel anywhere to access all the wonderful benefits of summer break. Home can be the perfect place to relax and recharge, as long as you set it up so that it meets your needs.
Amy Stenlund: The place that I go to rejuvenate is my craft room. It’s more of a walk-in closet and a desk, but I find it relaxing and peaceful to be in there. Being creative makes me feel really empowered. I like to carve out a chunk of time so that I can really think about what I want to do. Also, I like to finish what I start. If I have things going on, I might sit down for a couple of hours, but if I can stay in my craft room for a half day or a whole day, that’s really ideal.
Emily Achilles Stefanich: I always like to revisit my desk space in the summer just so that I stay nice and neat. I realize that for me, the less I have the more I can think. When you get rid of stuff you don’t need and really distill everything down to the most essential parts, it allows you to be more successful and passionate about those areas you care about. So the less you have, the more you can focus on the important things.
- Michael Kaponyas is a Responsive Classroom consulting teacher and teaches kindergarten at BASIS Independent Brooklyn in Downtown Brooklyn, New York.
- Susanna Mellor is a Responsive Classroom consulting teacher and teaches first grade at an independent school in Salt Lake City, Utah.
- Vonn Nguyen is a Responsive Classroom consulting teacher and is in her seventh year teaching kindergarten in a K–8 public parent-participation school in the San Francisco Bay Area.
- Emily Achilles Stefanich is a Responsive Classroom consulting teacher and the district curriculum coordinator for Wilton-Lyndeborough Cooperative School District..
- Amy Stenlund is a Responsive Classroom consulting teacher.
- Sarah Tiamiyu is a consulting teacher and the K–6 director of Learning Support at The Potomac School.