Days are longer in the summer, providing more opportunity for leaving your house and spending time in the community. Social connection is a wonderful coping strategy for mental illness, especially anxiety and depression. Even just a few minutes with others can improve your mood and increase your motivation. You can do the following activities either alone or with friends and family.
1) Free Museums: Take refuge from the heat in a cool museum! Many museums have free or donation-requested days. Some museums also have free concerts and other fun summer programming. Check the website of the museum you are interested in for full details.
2) Free Concerts: Concerts are an easy and fun way to spend time outdoors during the long summer nights. Many towns in the Chicagoland area have free concert series. Some are geared toward families while others are more adult-oriented. So, pack a picnic and spend a night listening to music with friends and family.
3) Free Movies: If you prefer movies to music, head to a park to watch a free film outdoors. Check online for local viewing locations and times.
4) Walking Tours: Explore the city on foot while learning about history and culture. You can find free walking tours in Chicago and surrounding suburbs. Walking tours are a fun and easy way to be a tourist in your own city.
5) Head into Nature: Escape the concrete of the city for a few hours and explore the woods and nature preserves in the Chicago area. Most parks contain picnic tables and walking trails. You can also find places to bike, bird watch, and spot deer!
Other easy summertime activities include reading a book in a park, playing sports outside, or spending an hour or two at a coffee shop with a patio. However you decide to spend your summer, remember to make time for yourself and enjoy the season.
Image from: http://chicago.carpediem.cd/events/7119565-the-40th-annual-chicago-jazz-festival-at-millennium-park/