Self-Care Ideas for July

The summer months are a great time to focus on self-care. Whether you are just starting or continuing a self-care routine, the benefits promote an overall well-being to your mind, body, and soul. Set aside a time just for you. Do you need some ideas for your July self-care routine? Look at the following list for inspiration.

  1. Schedule your annual wellness check with your primary care provider.
  2. Stay hydrated! Drink lots of fluids in the warm weather.
  3. Get creative.
  4. Celebrate the 4th! Play with sparklers or go watch the fireworks.
  5. Sleep! Take naps or sleep an extra hour.
  6. Meditate or pray.
  7. Listen to relaxing music.
  8. Go to the library or local bookstore to find your summer reading material.
  9. Binge-watch movies or series on a rainy day.
  10. Try a new fitness routine.
  11. Go for a hike or nature walk.
  12. Go for a swim.
  13. Ride a bike.
  14. Keep a gratitude journal.
  15. Call an old friend.
  16. Go out to lunch.
  17. Try a new recipe.
  18. Volunteer
  19. Clean your living space.
  20. Spend a day at the beach.
  21. Unplug from your devices.
  22. Be a local tourist.
  23. Stargaze.
  24. Watch the sunrise or sunset.
  25. Buy a new outfit.
  26. Do an in-home spa treatment.
  27. Get a haircut.
  28. Find a new place to worship.
  29. Order take-out from your favorite restaurant or try somewhere new.
  30. Take a long hot bubble bath with lavender or rose hips oil.
  31. Learn a new skill.

Summer Bucket List: 100 Activities

Many people view Memorial Day as the unofficial kick off to summer. Are you ready to get outdoors and enjoy the warmer weather? Time to make a summertime bucket list! Whether you are looking for activities for yourself, your family, or friends, a bucket list is a great way to begin your planning process.

If you are looking for inspiration, check out the following 100 ideas for a summer to remember.

  1. Swim in a lake.
  2. Go on a picnic.
  3. Commit to a 1000 Hours Outside
  4. Build sandcastles.
  5. Visit a local, state, or national park.
  6. Go hiking.
  7. Fly a kite.
  8. Watch the sunrise.
  9. Go kayaking.
  10. Go horseback riding.
  11. Eat a banana split.
  12. Sleep under the stars.
  13. Make homemade ice cream.
  14. Tie-dye tee shirts.
  15. Play in the sprinklers.
  16. Have a bonfire.
  17. Eat S’Mores.
  18. Watch fireworks.
  19. When the moon is full, go for a walk.
  20. Host a BBQ.
  21. Go bike riding.
  22. Go on a nature walk.
  23. Plant a flower or vegetable garden.
  24. Go on day trips around your state.
  25. Do weekly summer selfies or host a summer-themed photo shoot.
  26. Make a summer scrapbook of your adventures.
  27. Create a time capsule.
  28. Create a summer playlist.
  29. Have a water balloon fight.
  30. Dance outside on a warm summer night.
  31. Buy take-out and go eat in the park.
  32. Volunteer.
  33. Host an outdoor game night.
  34. Go ziplining.
  35. Go to a drive-in.
  36. Create outdoor chalk murals.
  37. Go on a boat ride.
  38. Dance in the warm rain.
  39. Go Geocaching.
  40. Go camping.
  41. Go tubing down a river.
  42. Go for a long car ride.
  43. Blow bubbles.
  44. Go canoeing.
  45. Be a hometown tourist.
  46. Build an outdoor fort.
  47. Keep a summer journal.
  48. Go to a water park.
  49. Relax in a hammock.
  50. Go to an amusement park.
  51. Visit a farmer’s market.
  52. Go to an outdoor concert.
  53. Spend an afternoon, reading a book while sitting under a tree.
  54. Play mini-golf.
  55. Go to a baseball game.
  56. Visit an aquarium.
  57. Play beach volleyball.
  58. Make root beer floats.
  59. Relax on a pool floaty.
  60. Make homemade popsicles.
  61. Slip-n-slide.
  62. Go midnight bowling.
  63. Try something new from a food truck.
  64. Photograph a waterfall.
  65. Host yard Olympics.
  66. Go out of state.
  67. Go on a late-night swim (safely).
  68. Go water skiing.
  69. Binge-watch Harry Potter movies on a rainy day.
  70. Host a sleepover.
  71. Play tennis.
  72. Attend or volunteer at a Vacation Bible School.
  73. Join a youth group, Bible study, or simply do morning devotions.
  74. Try a new workout routine.
  75. Eat Cotton Candy.
  76. Go rollerblading.
  77. Ride a skateboard.
  78. Visit a botanical garden.
  79. Rent a paddleboat.
  80. Go fishing.
  81. Go to a zoo or wildlife preserve.
  82. Ride a roller coaster.
  83. Go on a train ride.
  84. Paintball.
  85. Try playing Paint Twister.
  86. Play laser tag or flashlight tag.
  87. Do Yoga outdoors.
  88. Feed frozen peas to the wild ducks.
  89. Go to a new restaurant and order the special of the day.
  90. Pick berries.
  91. Play cornhole or Bocce Ball.
  92. Visit a splash pad.
  93. Host a Christmas in July party.
  94. Go on a nature scavenger hunt. Use your camera to document your finds.
  95. Unplug from social media for a day or entire weekend.
  96. Go rock hunting or search for sea glass.
  97. Do random acts of kindness.
  98. Attend a summer library program.
  99. Pick wildflowers (where permitted) and make bouquets to give away.
  100. Host an end-of-the-summer party.

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Journal Writing Prompts for June

June is here, time for a new set of journal-writing prompts. June brings warmer weather, longer days, Father’s Day and much more. Whether you are just starting or been writing for years, each day is a great time to make entries in your journal.

  1. Happy June 1st. How did last month go for you? List your highs and lows for the month.
  2. What are you hoping to accomplish this month? Make a list, add at least 5 items.
  3. How is the pandemic different this year than 2020? Are you getting out more? Have restrictions been lifted in your area?
  4. What are your hopes for the summer for your personal endeavors, family, work, and other commitments?
  5. Create a summer bucket list.
  6. Free write for 15 minutes.
  7. What time of day do you feel most energized? Are you a morning person or a night owl? Why?
  8. If you could interview any entertainer, who would you pick? Why?
  9. Name public figure who inspires you. Why does this person bring you inspiration?
  10. If you could have a superpower, what would you pick? Why?
  11. How are you feeling today? Describe your mood, energy level, and overall well-being.
  12. Describe your dream garden or home.
  13. Do you like speaking in public? Why?
  14. Flag Day! What does the Flag mean to you?
  15. Write about a funny moment from today. Why did this event amuse you?
  16. List past mistakes that turned out to be turning points in your life.
  17. Do you live your life to please yourself or others? Why do you think this way?
  18. Write down your best qualities.
  19. When was the last time you left your comfort zone? What did you do? How did the activity make you feel?
  20. Happy Father’s Day and Happy 1st Day of Summer! Write about your relationship with your father.
  21. What is your favorite childhood memory of your father?
  22. What is your favorite childhood memory of summer?
  23. What is your favorite summer activity as an adult? Why?
  24. Write about summer. Write ten words to describe summer. Next, elaborate on each word.
  25. Describe a recent challenge. How did you handle the situation? Do you feel the challenge is resolved? Why or why not?
  26. What part of your life is more important right now? Work? Family? Relationship? Why?
  27. If money were no object, what 3 things would you get? Why?
  28. Write about your favorite book. Write a review. Or write an alternate ending to the story.
  29. Are you working on your 2021 goals? How are you handling your tasks? Have you crossed any off your list? Why or why not?
  30. What moment from June 2021 do you want to always remember? Go into details.  

Family Fun Month: Hiking

Exploring the outdoors is a wholesome activity for the entire family (including the dog) to enjoy. Hiking provides physical exercise, reduces stress, and boosts creativity.

Find the Right Trail

Before heading out, do your research. Find the right hiking trail for you and your family to safely enjoy. Trails generally run from easy to extremely difficult with numerous obstacles. Finding the best one for your family requires research. If you are uncertain about where to start, set out on an easy trail than work your way through the rest.

What to Pack

If you are just beginning, day trips are the best. Heading out on the trail for a day gives your family a chance to familiarize themselves with the trails and the equipment.

Do you need ideas for the basics for backpacking essentials for day trips?

  • Backpack: Use a high-quality backpack to protect your basic hiking necessities. Even younger children can carry a lightweight backpack.
  • Water: Staying hydrated is critical when hiking.
  • Food: Pack plenty of food to get you through your hiking trip. Small children may require frequent stops with extra snacks. Pack to meet each family members’ needs.
  • First Aid: Bringing a first aid kit is essential for handling minor scrapes and cuts on the trail.
  • Compass: Do not always rely on your cell phone. If your battery goes dead, you may need an alternative navigation device.
  • Hand Sanitizer: Use to clean your hands before eating.
  • Mask: Once you are on the open trail away from people, you will not need a mask. However, certain areas of the park may require a face covering. Be respectful of others. Pack a mask to follow any restrictions.
  • Extra Socks and Hiking Shoes: If you accidentally get your feet wet, having additional foot attire is a priority, especially with children. You want to make hiking a positive experience.

Before You Hit the Trail

Before heading to your destination, check the weather forecast. Dress in weather-appropriate clothing. Remember, clothing layers are the best option for being outdoors. If you are uncertain what to wear, add an extra layer. If the weather is too warm, a sweatshirt is easy to remove.

Have Fun

Hiking is not a race to get through the trails as fast as possible. Take your time with your family. Pause to view numerous scenic areas or enjoy nature.

Ask your children open-ended questions or make up stories. Being outdoors increases creativity. Encourage conversation among your family about the experience. Bring your camera or use your cell phone to take lots of photos to create a memory book. Wildlife and nature discoveries can lead to a lifetime love of the outdoors.

 

Family Fun Month: Camping

Celebrate Family Fun Month by getting outdoors and going camping. View the stars while sitting around a cozy campfire. Even with the current health crisis, you and your family can enjoy camping.

Tips for Camping During the Current Health Crisis

With planning and social distancing, camping is a low-risk activity for you and your family. Plus many campsite allow pets, you can bring your favorite four-legged companion along to enjoy the fun.

Plan Your Trip

Before heading out, check your state or local park guidelines for camping during a pandemic. If you are heading to a campground, register ahead of time to secure your camping space. When picking your area, try to get a campsite further away from others.

Over Pack

Generally, road trips mean a lot of stops, fast food, and more. But due to the pandemic, purchase as much as possible before going to the campground. Minimize the number of stops to and from the camping area.

Along with food, drinks, a tent, and other necessary camping equipment, consider the following.

  • Hand Sanitizer: Pack ample amounts of hand sanitizer and wipes. If you are not near the public restrooms or outdoor facet areas to wash your hands, hand sanitizer is an excellent alternative.
  • Masks: Even though you are outdoors, specific areas inside the campground may require a mask. Be respectful. Follow the guidelines.
  • First Aid Kit: Bring your own fully stocked first aid kit to handle minor cuts and scraps. Do not forget to pack extra band-aids, anti-itch medication, and other supplies. A well-packed first aid kit allows you to treat your minor ailments right at your campsite.
  • Trash Container: Create a designated area for your trash. Put all your trash into a bag or other container. Empty your trash in the proper area. Never leave your trash behind.

Have Fun

Now the packing and the basics are out of the way—time to have fun. Yes, you will still need to practice social distancing with others outside your family. But enjoy your time together.

  • Swim
  • Go paddleboarding or kayaking
  • Walk the designated trails
  • Make S’mores
  • Tell stories around the campfire
  • Stargaze
  • Photograph nature

Or simply relax and enjoy the great outdoors while sitting around a campfire.

Hobby Farm: Ways to Keep Your Chickens Cool in the Summer Heat

Summer brings warmer temperatures, high humidity, and risks to your outdoor animals. When the temperature inside your coop rises, your chickens may need a few extra alternatives to help stay cool. Check out the following list for ways to keep your chickens cool in the summer heat.

  • Lots of Water: Keeping your chickens hydrated is essential for their health. Check their watering containers more than once a day. Provide your flock with cold, freshwater to encourage drinking.
  • Extra Water Containers: On sweltering and humid days, provide extra water resources. Fill up extra waterers or place a small shallow pan in your pen. If you are worried about the chickens splashing the water out of the shallow pan, place marbles large marbles in the bottom.
  • Electrolytes: Add electrolyte tablets or powder to their water—the solution aids in keeping your chickens hydrated.
  • Provide Shade: If your chickens are in the open pen area, provide some shade for relief. A large tarp in a corner or even a piece of plywood is an easy way to allow your chicken to find a shady area. For first-time chicken owners, consider placing your coop partially in a naturally shaded area.
  • Tasty Treats: Add a few cold treats to your daily feeding to help your chickens stay cool and well-fed. Providing cold watermelon, berries, and other fruits is a tasty treat for your chickens. Freezing corn or other vegetables in ice blocks is another alternative to keep your chickens hydrated.
  • Cool the Coop: Install an exhaust fan. If your coop is secure, leave the main door open early in the morning or late in the evening to allow cooler air to flow through the coop.
  • Keep Chickens Calm: When chickens get overly excited, they can quickly exhaust themselves in high heat. Try to keep your coop calm. If possible, minimize your daily interactions to checking on the water supply or gathering eggs. During the hot days, keep children out of the coop.

Chickens know how to stay cool in the summer months. For example, be aware of the dirt holes your chickens dig to stay cool out in the open area. Sometimes you may only see your chickens peaking over the top. Providing a few extra resources helps keep your chickens healthy.

Ways to Celebrate the 4th of July at Home

Are you staying home for the 4th of July? You are not alone. Finances, the weather, social distancing, or health concerns are keeping many people at home this year for Independence Day. Staying at home doesn’t necessarily mean a boring holiday. With little preparation, you can make this 4th of July memorable for your family.

Ideas to Celebrate Independence Day at Home

Enjoy being at home with your family on Independence Day. Create new family traditions or expand on older ones.

Food and Treats

One of the best parts of any holiday is food. The 4th of July is an excellent time to get outdoors.

  • Host a BBQ: Whether you host a BBQ for just your family or a few friends, grilling out on the 4th of July is a tradition. In addition to grilled hamburgers and hot dogs, potato salad, macaroni salad, beans, and chips are perfect for hosting a BBQ.
  • Picnic: If you want to stay close to home but get outdoors, go on a picnic. Local and state parks are open. Being outdoors is a wonderful way to get fresh air and enjoy the sun.
  • Sundae Bar: Buy a couple different flavors of ice cream and all the fixings. Red, white, and blue sprinkles are a perfect holiday topping. Whipped topping, chocolate chips, flavored toppings, and nuts are other welcomed favorites for ice. Allow your children to create their own masterpieces.
  • Piñata: Buy a piñata as part of your holiday celebration. Your children will enjoy the candy and prizes.

Games

Keeping children busy on the 4th of July helps produce lasting memories. If the weather permits, play games outdoors. Do you need some ideas? Go old school.

  • 3-Legged Race
  • Burlap Bag Race
  • Water Balloon Toss
  • Scavenger Hunt
  • Crafts
  • Slip and Slide
  • Playing in the Sprinkler

Crafts

Are you looking for a low-key 4th of July celebration or a place for children to relax in the shade? Setting up a craft table is simple. Just remember to stick to the red, white, and blue theme.

  • Tie-Dye T-Shirts: Purchase red and blue dye to add color to white t-shirts. Provide rubber bands to make different markings on the shirts. A tie-dye t-shirt is a perfect take-home gift or memorable experience.
  • Make Necklaces: Red, white, and blue pony beads are inexpensive. Provide trays of beads to all your children, and guests make necklaces or bracelets.
  • Make Crowns: Posterboard, glitter, red, white, and blue construction paper are great for making crowns.

Bonfire

Host a bonfire. Roast marshmallows for S’mores and enjoy an evening under the stars.

Fireworks

With many fireworks canceled, you may want to set a few off for your family to enjoy. Sparklers are always a fun tradition for the entire family to enjoy. If you are setting off larger fireworks, be courteous, and let your neighbors know your plans.

The 4th of July is a time to celebrate freedom. But there is no right or wrong way to celebrate Independence Day. Ordering pizza and watching fireworks on television can be a fun-filled night for your family.

31 Self-Care Ideas for July

Self-care is being aware of your own needs and taking the necessary steps to meet them. The demands of work, parenthood, and other commitments often lead to stress. With the added health crisis, social media, and daily news, you may quickly be overwhelmed. Take a step back, breath, and remember to take time for yourself. Do you need ideas for self-care? Check out the following list for July.

  1. Hydrate: Staying hydrated is essential for your health, especially in the summer. No, you don’t need to give up your morning coffee, just remember to drink plenty of water throughout the day.
  2. Don’t Forget Your Fruits and Veggies: Often, in the summertime, quick meals lead to unhealthy choices. Remember to get your daily intake of fruits and vegetables.
  3. Go Outdoors: Yes, social distancing and other restrictions are still in place but even get outside. Go for a hike, walk around the block, stroll through the city park, or take an extra trip to the dog park. Being outdoors, even for an additional hour, is good for your well-being.
  4. Happy Independence Day, USA! Watch the fireworks. Due to the coronavirus, many events have restrictions or canceled. Watching fireworks from your own vehicle is a safe way to enjoy the holiday. If you do not want to leave home, many PBS stations host 4th of July concerts with fireworks. Enjoy the show from your own couch.
  5. Make a Summer Playlist of Your Favorite Songs
  6. Start a Journal
  7. Create a Vision Board: Fill your board with anything that personally inspires or motivates you. Then, take the necessary steps to transform your goals into reality.
  8. Unplug: Step away from your computer, cell phone, or other electronic devices. Turn off the news. Unplugging for an hour, an afternoon, or a day can positively impact your mood.
  9. Buy Yourself Flowers
  10. Declutter Your Closet
  11. Take a Long Bubble Bath
  12. Give Yourself an In-Home Spa Treatment
  13. Make Your Favorite Meal: Yes, it can be a dessert.
  14. Call a Friend
  15. Meditate or Pray
  16. Do Morning Yoga or Stretching Exercises
  17. Watch the Sunrise or Sunset
  18. Take a Long Afternoon Nap
  19. Go on a Picnic: If the weather is uncooperative, host a picnic in your living room.
  20. Read a Book
  21. Go to the Farmer’s Market: Great place to get your fruits and veggies while supporting your community.
  22. Go for a Ride: Fill up your car and just drive.
  23. Set Goals for the Second Half of 2020
  24. Do Crafts on a Rainy Day
  25. Learn to Say, “No”: Too many commitments can lead to added stress.
  26. Spend an Evening (or Entire Weekend) Binge-Watching: Re-watch your favorite television series or discover something new.
  27. Paint or Draw: Bringing out your inner artists does not have to break the bank. Head to your local dollar store and buy some necessary supplies.
  28. Listen to a New Podcast
  29. Buy Yourself Something New: Treating yourself can be as simple as trying a new type of cracker to purchasing an entire outfit. Just do something new for yourself.
  30. Send a Friend or Family Member a Letter: Or join a pen pal organization and write to someone new.
  31. Make a Goal List for August

Celebrating the Summer Solstice

Most people associate the first day of summer with the 3-day Memorial weekend. But technically this year, on June 20, 2020, the northern hemisphere will officially begin the first day of summer. Staying light longer, the sun will finally reach the furthest northern point in the sky. The summer solstice marks the longest day of the year. After the summer solstice, the days will begin to lose light.

Ways to Celebrate the Summer Solstice

Different cultures have a wide range of traditions to welcome the summer. Unfortunately, due to recent health mandates, social distancing, and stay at home guidelines, many festivals and celebrations are canceled this year. But do not let all the restrictions keep you from celebrating the summer solstice.

  • Go Hiking: Numerous parks are open to the public. Yes, social distancing still applies to the trails, but you still can enjoy the great outdoors. Hike a new trail. Spend an extra hour outdoors. Hiking is good for the entire family. Even young children can enjoy easy trails. Of course, don’t forget your dog.
  • Go for a Walk: A simple walk around the block can be refreshing. Walk to your local park. The playground equipment may still be inaccessible. But enjoy the different paths throughout the park. If you are working, go for a short walk on your lunch break.
  • Enjoy Nature: Take a leisurely stroll in your local park to enjoy nature. Take along binoculars and a camera to capture your view. If you are allowed, pick wildflowers, collect rocks, and other nature items to use for craft projects later.
  • Meditate or Pray: Sitting outside in nature is the perfect time to reflect. Give yourself time to meditate or pray.
  • Watch the Sunrise or Sunset: Taking a moment out of your day to simply watch the sunrise or set, gives you a chance to relax and destress.
  • Cook a Feast: Okay, a simple BBQ or a picnic will do the trick. But cooking a meal and enjoying the celebration as a family is a great way to honor the changing season.
  • Host a Bonfire: If you haven’t used your fire pit this year yet, the summer solstice is the perfect day to start. Build a small fire, watch the sunset, and marvel at the stars. Oh, and don’t forget the chocolatey, marshmallow goodness of S’mores.
  • Celebrate Virtual: Due to restrictions, many popular sites, including Stonehenge, are celebrating the summer solstice online. Watch the sunrise or set, listen to music, or watch an event.

Regardless of the way you celebrate the solstice, enjoy the summer day. Summer goes by quickly. Soon, the cold weather will return.

Best Lakes to Visit in Michigan

When you think about the “greatest lakes” in America, you probably think of none other than the Great Lakes – of which there are five. The best part about the state of Michigan is that four out of these five lakes (all except for Lake Ontario) touch along the state’s border, so no matter where you are in Michigan, you’re never too far from a gorgeous waterfront view. While the Great Lakes are the go-to choices for the best aquatic places to visit in Michigan, there are also a lot of smaller lakes in the state that are underrated but just as beautiful. Here are some of the best lake spots in Michigan.

Torch Lake

Torch Lake is not only Michigan’s longest lake, but its deepest lake as well, but those are not the only titles this lake holds. National Geographic, also named Torch lake the third-best lake in the country due to its gorgeous blue waters – frequently compared to the Carribean Sea. Torch Lake is known for its incredible parties, particularly on the Fourth of July, where the elite of Michigan gather to relax and enjoy the gorgeous scenery. On your next visit, you may even spot some Michigan celebrities such as Kid Rock and Eminem!

Lake Charlevoix 

Lake Charlevoix is a great destination for those that want to enjoy the splendors of nature alongside a great town filled with delicious food and boutique stores to explore. The downtown Charlevoix area that surrounds the lake has so much to offer. While you may think of taking a lake trip on a warm summer weekend, Charlevoix really shines in Autumn. Visit during the 2nd week of October to experience the infamous Apple Festival for an unforgettable experience.

Elk Lake

How do the lakes of Michigan have such stunningly blue water? The second deepest lake in Michigan, this natural wonder has the same gorgeous coloring as Torch Lake, but with a more relaxing demeanor. If you’re looking for a more relaxing vacation, away from the excitement and business, Elk Lake is the perfect destination for you.

Lake Michigan

Okay, we implied we weren’t going to name any of the great lakes, but your trip to Michigan wouldn’t be complete without visiting the lake of the same name. It’s probably the best lake in the whole state, perhaps in the whole country. With something to do for everyone, Lake Michigan is the perfect place for your next family trip, girls’ weekend, or romantic getaway. There are many wineries, fishing opportunities, and boating expeditions you can take advantage of here. Even if you’re just taking a long drive along the riverfront, the breathtaking view will be well worth the visit. Many fall in love with Lake Michigan so quickly that they find themselves looking at Grand Rapids real estate after their visit so they can experience this wonder all year ‘round.

Image Credit: Pexels

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