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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

I’ll never forget what one of my classmates told me when I was in high school. She said, “I hate the fact that instead of enjoying life, I’m living from weekend to weekend.” That hit home for me.

It pains me that we miss out on a big chunk of our lives by spending five days of the week not having fun.

I used to let stress, fatigue and anxiety consume my weekdays. I figured it was normal… But, I realized that I did not want to live the average life that everyone else was living. Routine just wasn’t my thing. The days started blending together and time started moving faster. I was desperate to slow it down.

I know we all have responsibilities to fulfill, but at the end of the day, the most important things are our memories, relationships and mental health. If you just take one or two hours out of every day to do something fun, you’ll find that your life becomes more meaningful.

Here are ten fun things to do on weekdays no matter where you live:

Have a game night.

Instead of focusing on the daily stressors of life, you can focus on whether or not you’re going to win in cards while also bonding with your family and friends. Playing games like poker or “BS” subconsciously helps you get to know the people you are playing with better and grow your connections with them. They can also provoke laughter and fun competition.

Sit and look at the stars.

We often forget how amazingly beautiful our universe is and how small our problems are in the grand scheme of things. Personally, taking some time to look at the stars inspires me and reminds me how grateful I am.

Sit around the campfire.

Instead of just lighting a candle in your room, go observe the crackling sounds of wood, flickering light and the warmth that a campfire provides. Research shows that campfires can lower blood pressure and the longer you sit there, the more relaxed you will feel. This soothing effect stems from prehistoric times when Stone Age men relied on fires for cooking, light, protection and social cohesion.

Have a picnic.

Instead of eating in your kitchen, set up a blanket outside. Picnics are the perfect opportunity to connect with nature as well as other people. And in the meantime, you can enjoy a fabulous meal!

Invite your neighbors over.

I don’t know about you, but I wish I spent more time talking to my neighbors. After all, they live ten feet away from me… Getting to know your neighbors provides comfort. You’ll get more “hellos” when walking to your car and a greater sense of safety. If you’re afraid to knock on their door and ask for sugar, invite them over! Who knows, you might even form a long-lasting friendship!

Have a dance party.

This may be a daily activity of a five-year-old, but it is the activity that makes me the happiest. I do this all the time to get my nervous energy out. A lot of people just go to the gym, but for me, normal exercise can get boring. However, raving to “Heads Will Roll” does not.

Make a fancy dinner.

Planning out a nice meal that you don’t usually cook boosts self-confidence. There is nothing greater than that feeling of satisfaction after completing something difficult. Even if you botch the meal, you can learn from it and make a better one next time!   

Go for a hike.

Hiking is both a fun exercise and a way to connect with nature. A study from Stanford University found that time spent in nature calms the portion of one’s brain connected to mental illness.

Visit an art gallery or museum.

When you view a piece of artwork you find beautiful, it triggers an instant release of dopamine, the neurotransmitter associated with pleasure. Studies also show that viewing art improves critical thinking and empathy. Personally, it makes me think deeply about what I am looking at and gives me a sense of comfort.

Volunteer somewhere.

Making other people happy plays such an important factor in your own happiness. It gives you that warm feeling in your heart along with a sense of accomplishment. Personally, it adds more meaning to my life because I feel like I am making a difference, even if it is just in one person’s life.

Decades ago, these activities were just part of a regular afternoon, but life has grown so increasingly stressful that many people forgot about the simple pleasures. These ten activities (and more) release a joy that is constantly being held down by the burden of everyday responsibilities. So, stop making excuses for yourself and make every day count!

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Ally Leomporra is junior in the advertising program at Florida State University. She is an avid traveler and loves trying new foods as well as experiencing new things!
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