5 ways to stay productive this summer

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Although Victoria Day (Monday before May 24th of each year) signals the start of cottage season in Manitoba, consistently warm weather is not experienced until late June to August (summer actually starts June 21st).

This means we have nearly four months of glorious weather and fresh greenery; the perfect time to admire nature and breathe fresh air outdoors. To make the best of this precious time, here are five suggested ways by which you can maximize the summer months with recreational and learning activities for you and your family:

  1. Go outside! But plan your outdoor activities early

    Plan your activities ahead to have a stress-free and enjoyable experience. Weekends, especially long weekends (and there are several all throughout summer), are fantastic opportunities to discover your new country. Have a picnic at the park, go camping, check out all of the national parks and museums, attend Manitoba summer festivals, go for a long drive to see the prairies, or stay close and have a barbecue in the backyard. These are recreational and educational activities that will help you integrate into Canadian culture. Also, remember to take advantage of the many free activities available to save on costs. They are just as meaningful and entertaining. Start with this list: 20+ free and almost free things to do in Manitoba.

  2. Keep learning English

    I know, studying isn’t something you planned on doing this summer. But wouldn’t it be a shame to let your progress go to waste? The good news is that there are many ways to continue what you started without giving up the pleasures of summer. Here are a few suggestions:

    • Use livelearn.ca self-study resources – these materials are accessible any time of the day. Our website is mobile-friendly, so you can use your phone anywhere as long as you have internet connection. Read or listen to idioms, do a few exercises each day, or just read articles (like what you are doing right now. Good job!).
    • Use audio resources and podcasts – download language learning tools that you can listen to while on a long drive or while sunbathing. Here are a few suggestions: Audio resources to help you hone your English.
    • Attend the Summer Course – this is a nine-week course where you can learn about summertime in Manitoba and gain a variety of skills useful for speaking and writing. The best thing about it is that it is flexible! You can participate during your free time and while enjoying summer activities. You can even share your outdoor adventures with your virtual classmates and improve your speaking and presentation skills in the process.
  3. Start a garden

    Having a garden is a great way to beautify your home and/or get fresh produce. By planting vegetables and herbs, you do not only get to enjoy nutritious food but cut your grocery budget as well. Planting is also a great way to teach your children about responsibility, caring for the environment, as well as proper nutrition. You can do this even with limited space. You will thank yourself for starting a garden when you see your plants in full bloom this summer.

    You can actually grow plants all year-round in Manitoba. But if you like planting outdoors, this is the perfect time for it. However, you do need to be familiar with the right type of plants to grow and the specific ways take care of them. The A Community Gardener Guidebook is full of resources and tips to help you start your garden (the guidebook was compiled by North End Community/North End Community Network). Read Nutrition, cooking and gardening programs in Winnipeg for more information.

  4. Start (or sustain) your exercise regimen

    Although exercising is recommended all year round, you have more options for outdoor activities in the summer. You can walk or jog around the block, bike, skateboard or take longer hikes during the weekends. Of course, you can opt to do yoga or meditate indoors, take swimming lessons or do Zumba at the nearest community centre or the YMCA (check the Leisure Guide for Spring/Summer 2018 if you’re in Winnipeg). Whatever you choose, what’s important is that you allot some time for any form of exercise and stay active. Add to this regimen a healthy dose of fresh fruits and vegetables in season. For instance, Manitoba has the sweetest berries in summer. What’s great is that they have a lot of antioxidants too!

  5. Get ready for a summer job or volunteer

    Boost your career prospects by volunteering this summer. Or if you’re a student, gain new skills by getting a summer job. You will also gain friends, professional connections and know what it feels like to earn your own money. In Manitoba, youth as young as 12 years old can start gaining real work experience (with parent’s permission). Manitoba Youth Job Centres provide free employment referral services to local employers from May to August each year. For other employment and training resources for the youth, read Programs and services for Manitoba youth.

Additional tip: Get your wardrobe ready

If you haven’t noticed it yet, the thick jacket you’ve been wearing through winter is starting to make you sweat. It may be time to bring out your light coat and short-sleeved shirts and start folding away your parkas and thermals. However, you will need to continue layering clothes. In Manitoba, this is the safest way to stay comfortable even in summer. The weather can be unpredictable. Mornings usually start chilly and even with a +18 forecast, it can get cold because of the wind. You can shed some clothes in the afternoon if it gets warmer. Here are clothing must-haves when in Manitoba:

  • Light jacket or windbreaker
  • Long-sleeved shirts, pants and socks (to protect your skin from mosquito bites if you will be outdoors in the evenings)
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses or shades (It’s sunny Manitoba, so protect your eyes)
  • Don’t forget the sunscreen!

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Community Resources

For more summer tips, read: Quick tips to remember when staying outdoors in summer, Summer food safety tips and Preparing for a summer vacation: safety and security tips.

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