Memorial Day is usually the unofficial kick-off to the summer season, but there’s no doubt that the summer of 2020 will be radically different from previous years. With the pandemic ongoing and social distancing measures still in place, there will be no massive cookouts or trips to crowded beaches. If you were preparing for your first sober summer, this might be a disappointment.
Still, we have to work with the current situation, and there’s plenty you can do to make your first sober summer one to remember. Here are 7 activities to add to your 2020 to do list to help you celebrate the progress that you’ve made in staying clean and sober.
By now, we’re all feeling super housebound. So, plan a day to get out and do some exploring. This can be as simple as walking through a new area of town, and really taking time to observe what’s around you. If you have access to a car, pack a picnic lunch and go for a drive to a nearby trail or forest. Even if you don’t get out, just enjoying the change of scenery and looking at a new place will feel like a treat after quarantine.
Many people are still avoiding shopping, but small business is in desperate need of a boost. So, consider getting yourself a summer treat that you’ve always wanted. Whether it’s a great pair of sandals, a new swimsuit or a gorgeous plant display, buying yourself a treat can make this summer feel special. To make the biggest difference while you’re spending, order directly from a local retailer.
Be of Service
Giving back to others is an important part of recovery. Right now, your options might be a bit limited. However, with some ingenuity you can still make a difference in your community. You could drop off groceries at your local food bank (many of which are seeing higher demand during the economic downturn). Many community organizations have opportunities for online volunteering, done form the safety of your home. Even a simple action, like checking in on a neighbor, can give you the satisfaction of giving back.
Set a Goal
It can feel like life is on hold right now, with many activities closed down. Instead of getting stuck in a holding pattern, set yourself a goal. Maybe you want to train for a 5K or practice your painting skills. Having a goal can help you structure your free time and stimulate your brain by doing something new. Just make sure not to put too much pressure on yourself — remember, it’s about having fun!
Many people in early recovery have gone years without properly nourishing their bodies. So, take this summer to explore your culinary habits. Start cooking your meals, and challenge yourself to try something new each week. One way to push your boundaries is to sign up for a CSA. You’ll get a box of produce and other farm-fresh goods every week, and there will likely be some items you wouldn’t have picked yourself in the grocery store.
Hit the Water
There’s something very therapeutic about being near the water. If beaches are open in your area, consider visiting during the calmer hours or, hike along a favorite stream or lake. Many areas have businesses offering canoe or kayak rentals, which can be the perfect way to enjoy a beautiful summer day while respecting social-distancing measures.
This summer will (hopefully) be one-of-a-kind, unlike anything else you experience during your lifetime. While documenting the day-to-day right now might seem exhausting, it will be interesting to look back on it in the future. Focus on the little things: what are your trips to the stores like? What is the structure of your day? Public record will document the major moment of the pandemic, but your unique view of the summer of 2020 will be interesting and valuable to you and your family in the future.