Summertime and the livin’ is…crazy. I don’t know about you, but for me summer is fun but not always all that “easy.” I live in Maine and the short warm season along with our status as “Vacation Land” means that everyone is trying to make the most of summer.
In summer your regular schedule tends to go a bit off-kilter. There are vacations, kids out of school, lots of great weather to enjoy, extra visitors, etc. It can be a bit of a challenge to take care of yourself and your needs.
But it can be done. Here are some tips for making the most of your summer without getting run-down and depleted:
This tip is often the toughest because everything sounds really fun! I tend to say “yes” to too many sparkly-sounding events and then get overwhelmed. One of the ways to make sure you’re taking enough down time during the summer is to manage your schedule ahead of time. You can’t do it all and still be kind to yourself. Pick your very favorite summer activities and put them on your calendar. Then say a polite but firm “no thank you” to the rest – even when you have to use your willpower to do so.
Make mealtimes simple
In summer the foods we’re drawn to tend to be lighter and less complex to prepare. Rely on salads, sandwiches, smoothies and other simple fare. Shop at the farmer’s market, barbecue outside, make potato or pasta salads, create a mezze plate (selection of small dishes) to let your meal prep be easy. Eating outdoors always makes the food taste better so take advantage of it and have simple picnics in the park or your backyard.
A terrific way to nourish yourself, body and soul, during the summer is to go barefoot. Putting your naked feet on the earth not only feels good but is also nurturing. The electrons from the earth’s energy field touching your skin helps your own energy system become more coherent and balanced. You’re literally “grounding” yourself. Just a couple of minutes of going barefoot in your yard will revive you and help you get centered.
Do your self-care outside
While you’re out there going barefoot, bring some of your favorite self-care practices with you. Spend time journaling on the deck or in the hammock. Meditate on the front porch. Do breathing exercises in your garden. Take a silent walk on the beach or in the woods. Swim in the ocean, lake, pool or river. Being immersed in water is one of my personal favorites. The energies of nature are the perfect aide to refreshing yourself especially when your schedule is busy. Take a few minutes to get outside and just focus on your connection to the cosmos.
Be flexible on the road
Traveling is a time when your self-care practices can get thrown out the window. At home your routine is solid and you (hopefully) have time built in for you. On the road, it’s a bit harder to focus on yourself. You can still integrate some self-care while you’re traveling – with some planning. Build in extra time when you make your travel plans. On a long road trip, allow for a break near some nature trails and take a little walk. At a hotel with your family, get up early and spend a few minutes writing in your journal in the lobby or go to bed a few minutes early and read an inspiring book. In the airport, put on your headphones and listen to a guided meditation while you wait.
Play (without guilt)
Summer is the best time to access the spirit of play which is nourishing and uplifting. We adults often forget to play. In summer, when we have time off, playfulness is often more acceptable. Play more! If you have kids in your life, play imagination games with them. Pull out a fun hobby that you don’t always have time for. Splash in the water. Get silly! Release your guilt around playing and not being “productive” in that moment. The ego brain will try to make you feel bad for doing “nothing.” But truly, play allows us to access the part of our self that is connected deeply with the inner source. So play, in fact, it is a key part of self-care. Revel in it!
Make a “holding pen” for tasks that can wait
During the busy summer months, some of the things you have on your to-do list will inevitably get set aside. Rather than trying to remember all of these things, or have them sitting there in your planner making you feel guilty, create a place for them. Last month I had 4 separate road trips with festivals and concerts and more. I created a page in my bullet journal called “holding pen for post-travel tasks.” It helped me not worry that I was forgetting something important and allowed me to free my attention for the travel I was doing.
With some self-care planning you can make summer as revitalizing as it is busy. The idea is to have fun and release stress. Let summer be a joyful time and use these tips to take care of yourself along the way. Enjoy!