Plan a do-nothing day

snow cone

By the time you read this, summer will be halfway over. Perhaps not according to the “official calendar” definition, but Fourth of July has always seemed like the halfway point of summer. 

We still have a few more glorious weeks of sunshine and sweet corn, Lord willing. 

Nonetheless, it’s also time to buckle down and get serious about summer. Go places, see things, get that bucket list out and check off each activity and adventure. Then when you have had all the fun you can stand: stop it. 


It is important to set aside ample time to do absolutely nothing. I’m not talking about accidental sloth. I mean the kind of do-nothing day that you plan. If you don’t embrace at least ONE “lazy day of summer,” did you really have summer at all?

Start by sleeping in. Just don’t get up until you feel like it. Even if your “sleeping in” is 6 a.m. — revel in it. Rise and shine slowly. 

No need to rush things. Put on something comfortable and just covering enough to keep you out of jail — or the local prayer chains — if you live within sight of neighbors. Grab your hot or cold beverage of choice and get outside. 

Slam that screen door (so satisfying if it happens to be a vintage wooden one on springy hinges). Walk barefoot to the yard and just stand in the cool grass. Sip your beverage. Contemplate life. 

When you have stood long enough, grab a seat, hammock or glider. It might be on your patio, porch or in the driveway. Try to find some shade. Relax. 

If you have neighbors in sight of your seat, work on your wave. The friendly “howdy neighbor” wave that wishes them well. Add a head nod — ever so slight — to indicate that you are serious about your neighborliness. 


Doing nothing requires commitment. Lay back, stare up, and pick out patterns in the clouds. Plan some projects around the house — but not for today. That’s a later issue. 

The whole point of this day is to recharge and do nothing that could qualify as a real accomplishment. As the day progresses you will want to get dressed — but don’t get fancy. 

Swimwear, gardening clothes, or just something casual and comfortable are all excellent choices. Pick something that can get sticky. You will definitely want to plan on eating ice cream or Popsicles later. 

If you can get to water, this is the time to do so. Swimming pool, sprinkler, wading pool, lake, stream, creek or ocean. Whatever this body of water is — enjoy it.

If all else fails, grab a squirt gun or stick your feet in a bucket. 


Take note of the scents of summer. In your surroundings, this might be hot asphalt, chlorinated air or the scent of sunscreen wafting throughout. Or perhaps it’s the briny scent of a creek or lake, shady woods, bakingly hot barn lofts or fresh mown grass. 


Listen to the buzz. There’s always something. The drone of a bug, lawn mower, a neighbor’s tractor or perhaps the whir of a sprinkler system sending rainbow arcs into the air. 

Dessert first is a pinnacle of a do-nothing day. I recommend freezer treats so cold they stick to your lips, or perhaps a trip to a local dairy bar. Not anything fancy — just one of those little old ice cream stands that caters to the local little league. I recommend you order a twist cone as tall as a toddler. Those are the best.  

If you did nothing well, it should be almost dinner time. You can always fire up the grill and let the charred smell of childhood summers float around. Or, lean into doing less. 

A crisp salad, some sweet corn or a whole watermelon absolutely IS a fantastic dinner all by itself. As is a bag of potato chips.  

The whole point, after all, of a do-nothing summer day is to remember that to really enjoy summer is all about balance.  


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