I recently heard about a friend of a friend who has decided to try a new activity each weekend this summer. My initial thought: how exhausting. Imagine having to plan a new activity each and every weekend, schlep to wherever the activity was, battle through your inevitable hangover, and then repeat the whole ordeal the following weekend? No thank you. I am, I decided, an activity commitment phobe.
But then I thought about it. Lockdown has been at best a grind, at worst utterly horrible. I’ve seen the same handful of people over the past few months, and none of us have much that’s new to report (except for the ones who decided to get hitched or have a baby). What would the harm be in trying something new? Maybe not every weekend, but once a month or so. I might even feel better for it. So, one week last month, I walked Hadrian’s Wall with a group of friends. It was magnificent. I felt rested, revived, relaxed, more ready to seize the day than I had done in months. I had felt saddened by the prospect of no foreign holidays this summer, but I actually ended up marvelling at how beautiful Britain is (we were lucky with the weather, to be fair). More than anything, it was lovely just stretching my weary bones in an unexpected way and changing my mindset by changing my routine.
Plus it turns out altering habits is really, really good for you. Studies show that new experiences make time feel like it’s going slower. It stimulates neurons in your brain that may have fallen dormant, forming unique neurological pathways – the more pathways that are formed, the quicker impulses can travel and the easier you’ll pick up new skills in the future. And if that wasn’t enough to tempt you, introducing new stimuli triggers the release of the happy hormone dopamine, which makes you feel positive while sharpening your focus and giving you the motivation to keep going.
This got us talking at work – what if we created a summer bucket list, one filled with energising things to try each weekend this summer? So, here it is, your very own wonder list of activities. We hope you love it.
- Find a local walking route and head out with a picnic (and some sturdy shoes!)
- Set your sights high and go rock climbing
- Support indie artists and find a small local gig
- Head to the nearest coastline and go for a swim
- Take a metal detector to the beach
- Visit a botanical garden
- Go fruit picking
- Climb a mountain or peak
- Get behind the wheel at go-karting
- Pump some adrenaline at a theme park
- Get creative with a pottery workshop
- Take in some culture at an outdoor cinema
- Gun for a hole in one at mini/adventure golf
- Go to a life drawing class
- Head to an art gallery or exhibition
- Take a guided city walk to explore hidden parts of your hometown
- Try a Brush and Bubbles Art Kit – get 15% off with THEKNOW15
- Bake some chocolate eclairs
- Think tactically in an escape room
- Bounce away the stress in a trampoline park
- Visit your nearest castle and take in some history
- Make new friends at an alpaca farm
- Take in a tipple at wine tasting
- Book a paintball game, or laser quest to avoid the bruises
- Aim for a bullseye at archery
- Climb through the trees at Go Ape
- Dip your toes with paddleboarding
- Pretend you’re on Total Wipeout with an Aqua Park Inflatable Obstacle Course
- Get planting with a community gardening
- Head out to sail and try kayaking – or hire out a pedalo/punt on a nearby lake.