As I write this I’m sat staring outside at the glorious sunshine that we’ve been lucky enough to experience these last two days. Although, by the time it comes to posting this it’ll probably be gloomy and raining again! (EDIT: not a bad guess actually)
I actually struggle with S.A.D but whereas most people struggle with it during winter- I struggle with mine in summer. Everyone out getting a tan, wearing shorts & tees and off out having wonderful adventures with their friends…all things I won’t be doing. Even when I wasn’t allergic to the sun my vampire white skin never got a tan, I’d just burn and then go straight back to the colour I was before.
I don’t have the body confidence to wear anything but trousers, even in 30 degree heat! Although saying that I have just bought myself a dress and I’ve been looking at a few long skirts. As anyone that knows me in real life can testify- I’ve not been seen in a dress since I went to my prom at 16…in now 23! Baby steps.
As for going out with friends, well I’m hoping that this year this particular part of my S.A.D won’t be as much of a problem. I have Chris now & I’ve already been planning holidays to the coast and day trips to places like York. Plus hopefully me and Liz will end up going to a few places too. I’m constantly reminding myself that it’s not the number of people you know, it’s the quality of them!
I’m really planning on fighting my depression this year and since I was brainstorming some things I could do, I thought I’d turn it into a blog post to hopefully help other come up with some things to do!
As a student I don’t have any money except my student loan coming in, so I need to find some activities that won’t make my bank account cry!
So here’s my list of 10 things you can do without having to spend a penny!
1. Visit your local park & feed the ducks. Okay so maybe not everyone is lucky enough to live within walking distance of a park like me, butthis is definitely something you need to do at least once this summer! I was originally going to say save your old bread but that’s been proven to be bad for ducks. Instead grab some cooked rice, halved seedless grapes or plain old birdseed and mosey on down to the closest duck pond you can find. Just be prepared to be swamped by every duck within a 4 mile radius! If you feel embarrassed about going (mature adult and all that) offer to babysit a friend or family members kid for the day, they get a kid free day and you have an excuse to be a child again!
2. Take a picnic and a game with you. This ties in to the above idea: if you don’t want to go feed the ducks then grab a blanket, pack a picnic and take a game down to the park instead. Obviously this works best if you have someone with you but if this isn’t possible for some reason, take a book or handheld game with you and just enjoy being out of the house on your own! (If you struggle going out of the house on your own then read my Anxiety & Traveling post for some coping tips).
3. Go on a bike ride. When I was a kid me and my dad would go on a bike ride every weekend from spring until autumn, even occasionally in winter if it had been dry! These days it’s not really possible for us to go: dad had a heart attack when I was 14 and he’s never been the same since, he’s in constant pain and has almost no energy. My asthma has gradually got worse since I was about 18, getting so bad in the past few years that even just walking upstairs can threaten to cause an asthma attack. Whoever when I could I looked forward to going out on our weekly rides, it was dad and daughter time and probably the only time we’ve been able to do something together without arguing. Go on your own, with a loved one or take the whole family!
4. Go for a long walk. Again this is something you can do with the whole family. Depending on where you live you can have some gorgeous trials and paths to walk. I live in a little village, right next to the Trans Pennine Trail and this provided a great place to go for walks and bike rides.
5. Stargaze. All of these ideas seem to only work if you live out in the countryside…sorry if you live in a city as this one definitely won’t work for you with all the light pollution! But if it’s possible for you, go outa d just look at the stars. It might just be me but I could spend all night just staring up at them! I find it not only relaxing but motivation/inspirational in a strange way. We’re just a tiny little speck but we can achieve anything if we put our minds to it. The film Hidden Figures really brought this home and if you haven’t seen it I highly recommend checking it out!
6. Visit a farm. There are tons of farms dotted around, make a day of it and go visit one! Walking round and petting lots of different animals can be so therapeutic and it’s can make a great date day or somewhere to take children. Not only that but you can normally buy organic products at them, yes they’re more expensive but you’re helping out a small business and eating food you know is free range and hasn’t been pumped with chemicals! Win win
7. Have a water fight. Release your inner child and have a water fight. The weather should (hopefully) be warm enough for it at some point. Either invest in some water guns or just fill up two big buckets, put them at either end of the area you plan on playing in, and get two smaller cups for you to throw water at each other with!
8. Have a bonfire. We save up all our paperwork, receipts and other confidential items and then when the nice weather arrives we have a burn night. This is usually a family thing, mostly because we live next door to my grandparents and sometimes other family members will come down for it and it turns into a bit of a party. We’ll put out some food, buy some alcohol and also some shloer for the kids so they don’t feel left out.
9. Invite your friends and family round and host a BBQ. Kind of the same as the above but rather than having a fire (such not everyone may like), invite the family round for a BBQ with some drinks and a secondary buffet for anyone who doesn’t eat BBQ (*waves sheepishly*) so they don’t go without.
10. Sunbathe. Last but my no means least- make the most of the 6 sunny days England gets a year and lap up that sun! I always take either a book or my music outside and try and soak up as much vitamin D as I can. I have a natural vitamin deficiency so this is really important for me…however my body has also decided to develop an allergy to the sun (I swear my body hates me) so if I stay out too long I get covered in red sports/rash. Fun.
What are your favourite things to do in Spring/Summer that cost nothing? Let me know in the comments!
A twenty-four-year-old autistic writer and designer from Sheffield. Tattoo obsessed, animal lover, self confessed bookworm and eclectic witch.