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12 Ways to Slow Down & Enjoy the Dog Days of Summer

It’s August and I don’t know about you, but in my neck of the woods that means it's the inescapably sultry & hot dog days of summer.

A man relaxing on a hammock with his shoes off

“Now came the dog days - day after day of hot, still summer, when for hours at a time light seemed the only thing that moved.”

— Richard Adams, Watership Down

It’s August and I don’t know about you, but in my neck of the woods that means it's the inescapably sultry & hot dog days of summer. You know that period, historically speaking, that followed the rising of one of the brightest stars in the sky, Sirius, the dog star, part of the Canis Major Constellation, hence the name, the dog days of summer.

Back in the day it was associated with all sorts of unsavory and unfavorable things to astrologers and fortune tellers: drought, sudden thunderstorms, lethargy, mad dogs and bad luck. Nowadays, it’s usually just known as kind of a bummer, a time when it’s too hot to get anything meaningful done.

However, that’s not entirely true. August is the perfect time to take a meaningful pause, a little time out from our ordinary lives, from our schedules, the “to-do” lists and the laundry. Not to mention the endless push of our modern world to achieve more, do more, be more, at all costs.

No, August heat and the dog days of Summer aren’t a total waste. They’re good for something after all. They are the perfect time to take a break, and to play hooky from your life, even if just for an hour or two.

And in the spirit of that, here are twelve, non-productive, joyful ways to spend some time outside of the busy-ness of life, and enjoy the dog days of summer.

1. Run Away (With a book).

Ever think about running away to Paris? Why not read about the true story of someone who actually did it? Read a book about someone sailing with their two kids around the world, or how about a woman who reconnected with her long lost Parisian love interest from over a week long vacation over 10 years ago? All books you can find, along with hundreds of others at Amazon or a local bookstore. So, what are you waiting for?

2. Make Ice cream from scratch.

Or any other special treat. The point is to slow down and take the time to make something by hand that you and yours will really enjoy.

3. Turn your gaze upwards... to the Stars!

Stay up late with someone and reconnect to the wonder of the world with a little nighttime stargazing. If you time it right you can even catch a meteor shower. There’s even one in August!

4. Re-discover the joys of being read to...

Pick a fiction book, and read it aloud to someone, or, better yet, get someone to read it to you. Being read to forces you to slow down, focus and really listen. And it's fun! ;)

5. Make your own “Drive-in” Movie Theater.

Watch movies outside after dark. Get a projector and a sheet or just grab your laptop and your loved ones for a black and white romantic movie marathon. Watch Casablanca, Roman Holiday, or It Happened One Night, better yet watch all three!

6. Take a spontaneous picnic at sunset.

Grab that hamper or cooler you never use and a blanket for a little impromptu warm weather picnic. Grab cheese, wine, and a baguette and go somewhere where you can enjoy the sunset turning into twilight.

7. Set up a Hammock.

Take a nap in swinging hammock under beautiful blue skies. Count clouds, grab a magazine and an iced tea and just chill.

8. Play in the Great Outdoors, i.e. Your Backyard

Switch out your computer time or Netflix and chill time for an outdoor game with family and friends. After all, so many of us have backyards we rarely use, why not change that with a hilarious game of badminton, croquet or horseshoes?

9. Head to the water.

Few times of year call for relaxing by the water more than the dog days of summer. Whether it’s a pool, a river, a beach, or just a sprinkler find yourself some water to relax by.

10. Go for an ice cream stroll.

Grab some ice cream after dinner and walk around your downtown or take a scenic walk by the water.

11. Make the most of season and pick some berries.

Summer is the very best of berry season, and whether it’s a tart huckleberry destined for a cobbler, or a juicy, fat, sweeter than sweet blackberry freshly picked, now is the time to enjoy it.

12. Sleep outdoors.

Whether it’s a tent on a campground, or even just a sleeping bag in your own backyard, now is the time to get back to nature with a little camping.

What’s on your list for how to enjoy summer? Let me know in the comments.

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Thanks so much,

Desirée Sommer



Aug 23, 2021



Maryann Haas
Maryann Haas
Aug 08, 2021

I love this blog!! I especially enjoyed the dog days of summer and suggestions for enjoying these very hot days!! You know that they won't last forever and we will soon be into the Fall!

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