While I do not love the humidity that often comes with the Midwestern summer months, there are so many things I do love about this time of year. Outdoor dining or cocktails with friends. The warm feeling of sun on my arms and legs as I go for a run. The smell of freshly cut grass. Sounds of sparklers and firecrackers. The smell of bonfire or the taste of s’mores.

While we all re-adjust and ease back to activities we have missed over the last year, here are 10 ways to upgrade your routine to make the most of summer.

Take a vacation in your hometown

Who doesn’t love a good vacation? But, have you ever considered discovering your hometown in a new way by taking a vacation right where you live?

It just might be the adventure you need this year.

Find out where the best local coffee shops or restaurants are located. Check out the local opera or symphony. Are there any cultural festivals going on? Does your local community offer free summer concerts on main street? Is there a parade for the Fourth of July? Are there good trails for hikes or picnics?

I have done this a few times myself and discovered some fun, new activities right in my own backyard. It has helped me better appreciate where I live and find the beauty in the little things. Vacations can be fun adventures, but they do not have to break the bank.

Switch up your workouts

Do you ever feel stuck in a rut when it comes to working out? I felt that way this past winter and decided to switch things up by trying CrossFit, and now I am totally hooked. 

With the weather nicer outside, summer is a great time to spice things up when it comes to exercise. Consider taking a HIIT circuit (high-intensity interval training) or outdoor yoga class. Pause running on the treadmill and switch it with a good trail run or long walks in the park. Take advantage of the longer hours (and sunlight!)

Or if you’re feeling really adventurous, sign up for salsa or swing dancing lessons.

Eat seasonal food

While we may crave hearty dishes like chili in the winter months, we are actually more likely to crave fresher foods during the warmer months of the year. Take advantage of the grocery stores and farmers' markets full of fresh produce right now: strawberries, blueberries, sweet corn, watermelon, zucchini, cucumber, tomatoes, and so on. Is anyone else hungry right now?

This is the time of year to take advantage of what is seasonally fresh. Here is a helpful seasonal food guide to help you learn what is best in your region.

Update your skincare

While sunscreen is always an important thing to put on our face each day, our skin needs different things in the summer than it does in the winter.

Think about doing some regular practices like exfoliating acids to get rid of dead skin cells, or do a regular face mask. Use cooling tools, like an ice roller face massager, to depuff your skin. Consider adding a higher SPF sunscreen for better coverage and protection from UV rays in the warmer months.

“Summer clean” your house

Spring cleaning does not have to have all the fun; summer is just as good a time as any to do some detailed cleaning. While it might not be the detailed cleaning you did after the long winter months, here are some “summer” things you can do to freshen up your home: wash your comforter and bed linens, clean the fridge, open your windows and let in the fresh air, go through and review your summer wardrobe to see what to save and get rid of.

Minor changes like keeping fresh flowers in vases or citrus essential oils in a diffuser can also make a big difference in your home's ambiance.

Grow something

Even if your green thumb is more brown, summer is the perfect time to just start to grow something. You may not have the space for a garden, but even small potted herbs will get you gardening and growing something you can use.

Growing produce or herbs is healthier for you, better for the earth, and easier on your wallet. Not to mention, it feels empowering to use fresh chives in your morning eggs or cilantro for the next Taco Tuesday.

Participate in a summer reading challenge

Reading is something I have loved since I was a little girl. My siblings and I used to participate in the summer reading program at our local library. We loved making it a contest to see who read more and could win more prizes.

If you are a lover of books like me, I would highly recommend participating in a challenge such as blogger Modern Mrs. Darcy’s 10th Annual Summer Reading Challenge. It is a free, detailed guide to summer reading, complete with tons of recommendations. You won’t regret it and will make all your poolside visits 10 times better this summer.

Take advantage of longer hours

We know that the days of summer are naturally longer, but have you ever thought about changing your daily routine to make the most of the long days?

Longer days mean more sunlight, and more sunlight means more energy. Do not sleep or lounge away from all this extra sunlight. Take full advantage of the extra energy by waking up early for that workout or morning run before work. You will feel more energized, and if you are doing something physical, your body will thank you.

While this summer may be different for past summers, there's nothing stopping you from making this a summer that nurtures your body, mind, and spirit. Find some new ways to upgrade your routines and give yourself a little bit of a refresh. Celebrate right where life finds you.