Whether you are a young mom, a single college student or a busy grandparent, the summer tends to be a bright spot for everyone. We look forward to it, we count down to it and we downright expect it to be full of relaxing by the pool, grilling out hamburgers and catching fireflies.
But it never fails that our summer full of rest goes too fast and fills up way too quickly with events, chore charts and project lists. As much as I like to have a plan, summer can also be about not having a plan.
Let's be honest, when my kiddos were younger, I dreaded summer. I couldn't figure out the best way to fill our time, keep to our schedule and relax. It wasn't a break from busy, it was busy.
But now that the kids are in elementary school, summer has taken on a new meaning for us. It's the time of the year that we don't have to set alarms, we don't have to rush out of the house (which eliminates a whole lot of yelling + complaining) and we can linger outside at night longer.
With the longer days and more free time, though, it is tempting to fill every single second with something good. And, on the contrary, it's tempting to keep all the space blank! I've decided that for our family, what's best is that we fall somewhere right in between.
That's why this summer, I am going to do these three things to keep our minds, bodies and spirits in relaxation mode. We are going to turn off the hustle this summer.
This is so obvious, but also so incredibly difficult for me (hello, enneagram #typetwo). I worry about hurting feelings, disappointing others and making someone feel unimportant when they really, really, are.
But it is also not healthy for me to take every meeting and volunteer for every opportunity - especially if I am working my tail off on other projects of my own. This is called a boundary - something I could not identify for most of my life.
Will other people be upset with me or disappointed? Probably. But that’s okay. Not because I want that, but because I know I’m doing what’s best for me and my family. You can’t do it all - and you especially can’t do it all well. So stop trying. Pick your things, utilize your gifts and then stay out of everyone else’s business.
It's no secret that I love me some reality television and Netflix binge sessions. It's one of my favorite things. And in the summer, when routine becomes scarce, it's super tempting for me to sit in front of the TV with a package of chocolate pretzels and zone out.
I will not pretend that this isn't on my schedule for this summer. It most certainly is.
I have found, however, that when I lose myself in non-productive screen time I live on the edge of being a horrible human being. (Just being honest here). So how am I going to balance?
I generally make my kids play outside for a good chunk of time before having screen time, especially if it's a beautiful day. We go to the pool or they play basketball or even just sit outside with their snacks and talk (crazy, I know).
But when they are outside, it tends to be a good time for me to get work done. Whether that's house work, laundry or writing, I fill up their outside time with get-stuff-done time and then I lose the benefit of being outdoors myself.
This summer, I am going to make an effort to spend time outdoors for an hour every day. What? That doesn't seem like a lot? I'm telling you that it is! Apart from watering my plants and maybe taking a walk once or twice a week, even when it's beautiful outside, my work is done indoors - and the television beckons.
But being outdoors brings me so much life, joy and honestly heart happiness. I love the fresh air (even if it's hot) and generally can't wait for the evening when it cools down. So I am going to make a concerted effort to really be outside for myself this summer.
Okay - before I lose you, I'm going to jump into this really quick.
I like control. I didn't admit that for a long, long time but it's true. I like it. I'm obsessed with it. I grab a hold of it as often as I can.
This summer, I want to do things that are messy (even though it almost gives me hives to think about it), say yes to spur of the moment activities and release myself from having a handle of everything in our house.
COOK NEW MEALS
I am in such a meal planning rut. I've talked about this before, but as I try to eat healthy (and the rest of my family does not), I have a hard time finding things that we all like. I've never been the person that can have the same thing four nights in a row, never mind four weeks in a row, so I want to try new and flavorful recipes.
READ LIKE IT'S MY JOB
Can I let you in on a little secret?
I have a slight (and unhealthy) obsession with reality t.v. Now, I'm not talking about the Bachelor or Survivor or American Idol, I'm talking about Real Housewives. Somehow their drama filled "lives" enable me to escape the drama at our house for an hour... and it's fabulous.
However, I know this is not the best choice for me. I could binge watch all the things all summer long, but then I would get up and think "wait, where did the time go?" There's something different about reading a fabulous book instead. I'm already four books in and I don't care how many beach reads I take in, I am excited to read them all.
So what are you going to do this summer? How are you going to enjoy yourself and keep going?