Low-Key Ways to *Mentally* Cool Down this Summer


Looking for a less Gwyneth way to chill out this summer, preferably one that doesn’t make you wake up 20 minutes early to meditate? Not to worry. I’ve compiled some low-key ways to cool down your tired brain on the hottest days of the season. They’re all affordable, fun and don’t require a license in being a full-time ~*health guru*~.

1. Make a Recipe from Scratch

Cooking 100% from scratch gets you out of your head and into your five senses like nothing else. Plus you get to eat the fruits of your labor. What other creative venture literally feeds you? If you’re not sure where to start, try grabbing a cookbook like The Food Lover’s Cleanse by Bon Appétit or Love and Lemons. These share fantastic recipes that will open up your world through food.


2. Draw or Paint

You don’t have to be the next Chuck Close to set time aside to enjoy drawing. Everyone has a unique drawing style, and you might find it meditative to discover yours. If you don’t know where to start, grab some of my favorite pens, Pitt Artist Pens by Faber Castell, or my favorite iPad drawing app, Procreate. Once you have the right tools, it becomes a lot easier to express yourself. If you’re not sure what to draw, try doodling a few of your favorite things, whether that means fresh strawberries or your celebrity crush. There’s no wrong way to be creative.


3. Start a Bullet Journal

Journaling might sound like something more appropriate for cataloging 7th-grade crushes than navigating adult life, but trust me, it has evolved. Check out this tutorial on bullet journals on Buzzfeed, and try not to get obsessed. The rabbit hole of bullet journal walkthroughs on YouTube is addictive, should you venture there. The best part about this habit is that you can shape it however you like. If you’d rather get a pre-structured daily planner, try the SELF Journal. It helps you create a 3-month plan to achieving your goals.


4. Donate to Goodwill or the Epilepsy Foundation

An excess of stuff around your house is probably stressing you out. Do you really still need your cartography textbook from college or your sweatpants that haven’t fit since you were 17? Pick one type of object you want to assess per week and make a goal to donate everything you no longer use. Start with books. Even your favorite books might be enjoyed more by someone else who hasn’t read them yet. If you have no plans to reread them, why not give them away? We’ll still think you’re smart if your bookshelf gets a little lighter, we promise.


5. Buy Yourself Flowers

Why do we expect other people to buy us flowers? There’s no reason not to have them blooming in your house all summer long. Pick up your favorite bouquet and place it in a high-retail spot in your house. Your space will feel more festive, plus it will smell delicious. Trader Joe’s has really cheap bouquets, so just grab one next time you’re grocery shopping. Unlike plants, flowers eventually dying won’t make you feel like a shit person, so it’s a win-win.


6. Say No

Summer is full of opportunities to hit the beach, grab a happy hour, make new friends, and live your best life! It’s great, until suddenly you feel run-down and overwhelmed. Start saying no to plans that will overload your schedule. It’s your right to take time to recharge, and you’re not obligated to attend every social event that comes up. Plus, your friends will appreciate you just admitting you’re too busy rather than flaking at the last minute. Spend that time away from plans straight napping and taking long baths. It will feel so good.

Image sources: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5


Becky Lang is a writer, creative director and occasional podcaster living in Minneapolis.She also likes to draw dogs and female protagonists.