It’s easy for students to let their brains go to sleep over the summer. The freedom of no classes or homework is a massive stress relief, but the summer brain drain can make the transition back into the academic year a rocky one. Fortunately, there are lots of ways for students to keep their brains active over the summer without replacing the fun of summer with the stress and tediousness of the school year.
1) Be Healthy
It may seem obvious, but keeping your body healthy keeps your mind healthy. Your brain can’t operate at its maximum capacity when you’re sleep deprived or distracted by an empty stomach. Stay hydrated, eat healthy, get adequate sleep, and exercise regularly.
2) Get Ahead
If there are any assignments set by your teacher over the summer, try to get them out of the way as soon as possible. Finish your summer reading early. This will clear up your mind and ease stress for the rest of the summer. Enjoying all the free time will be much easier without an assignment hanging over your head.
3) Keep a Journal
Keeping a journal is a great way to keep writing skills sharp over the summer. Journals help organize thoughts and process emotional issues. Who knows? Maybe you’ll take a Creative Writing class over the school year and your journal will provide some much needed material.
4) Go Outside
No one wants to spend their entire summer inside. Take advantage of the warm weather and spend some time in the sun. Not only will you be soaking up the fresh air and Vitamin D, but studies show that spending time in nature can improve test scores.
5) Get Organized
Do some summer cleaning. Go through your closet and donate old clothes you never wear. Clean out the desk you’ve let grow cluttered. Organizing your surroundings will energize you and help you think clear.
6) Change Up Your Routine
Doing the same things every day stimulates the same brain pathways and depletes cognition. Engaging in a new activity wakes up the brain and keeps you from falling into a rut. Mix it up.
7) Do Something Creative
With so much free time, you may finally be able to work on a creative project that you’ve been putting off. Paint your room, learn a new song on your guitar, write a song or play. Engaging in the arts can do wonders for brain activity.
8) Schedule Study Time
It doesn’t need to be nearly as often as during the school year, but making time to study will keep those brain muscles in shape. Refresh yourself occasionally with a few equations or some French verbs. Don’t let yourself forget everything you’ve already learned. You’ll thank yourself when you’re ahead of the game come fall.
9) Make a Summer Reading List
Maybe Beowulf and Heart of Darkness are a little heavy for summer reading, but keeping your reading skills sharp over the summer is a great way to dodge the summer brain fog. You could read The Hunger Games to see what all the hype is about or even read a short play like The Tempest for a bit of a challenge. It’s not what you read but the act of reading that’s important.
10) Set a Challenge
Give yourself a goal to accomplish like memorizing the capitals of all 50 states or speaking only Spanish with a friend for 10 minutes a day. By the end of the summer, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment and have a new skill to show off to the world.
11) Learn the Fun Way
Go to museums, the zoo, the aquarium, or any other educational facility. Lots of these places have deals and discounts specially for the summer or for students. You can go with friends and give yourself something to do once the excitement of summer has worn off.
Volunteering is a valuable way to spend your time at any season or age but doing something especially hands on over the summer is an excellent way to learn new things, make connections, and build a resume.
There are endless ways to fight summer brain drain, so take advantage of them. Adults can also benefit from mentally stimulating activities. Stimulating your brain in new and challenging ways can help fight Alzheimer’s causing plaques in the brain. Whether you’re trying to keep your brain healthy for old age or a challenging school year, your brain will thank you for keeping it in shape.