Summertime is a time of hammocks and picnics, barbecues and kids making lemonade stands. It’s a time to unwind from the grind of the school year and all that goes along with it. It’s a time when some lucky folks get off early on Fridays and head down to their beach houses to relax with friends. It’s a time we look forward to as our own. But it never fails that as so many look longingly forward to the summer and potential travel and spending time with friends, the summer weekends begin filling up quickly. And in the blink of an eye almost every single summer weekend becomes accounted for. And then the stress creeps in. What happened to a carefree summer? Where did all of the coveted free time slip away to? Inevitably what happens is that we stop savoring the present moments because our focus turns to the end of the summer and how fast it’s going to go and it remains there until summer has passed by yet again.
So what are some things you can do to help stop this speeding train of summer? It’s important to be conscious of your thought patterns as they are what create your belief system. Beliefs are not necessarily reality. They are thoughts that we have over and over that we use to create our own personal reality. So if a lazy, hazy summer is where you want to set your sights, simply make that your focus. Set an intention of what you would like your summer to feel like, whether it be comfortably relaxing with family, filled with laughter and good times with friends, or having an abundance of time that passes by the way you want it to. Once you have an intention set you will be more likely to choose actions that are in line with those intentions.
Saying no to things is a great way to make more time this summer. Too often we feel bad saying no to someone and then end up doing things that we don’t really care to be doing. It’s OK to set boundaries for yourself and your time. Your time is yours and it’s better to spend it in ways that fulfill you instead of agreeing to things you don’t want to be doing and then feeling resentful about it. Other people will not respect your time if you don’t respect it first.
Make a choice to be present in all of your activities this summer in order to get the most enjoyment out of them. If you are worried about the upcoming school year all summer then your focus is on what may or not be happening in the future and that kind of thinking can produce anxiety. Staying present enables you to fully enjoy the things you are doing in that moment. If that is something you find difficult to do, try taking in your environment when your thoughts start to wander. Truly notice the beautiful summer sky, the trees or flowers in bloom. Take in anything you appreciate in the here and now and then turn your focus fully on to whatever you are doing.
Summertime is a great time for getting back in touch with that feeling of being carefree. I am sure many of us remember those wonderful, long days of summer when we were kids and free to do what our hearts desired all day long. Adulthood doesn’t have to mean that we are no longer allowed to do what we desire and summer is a great season to get back in touch with activities that bring us joy. Making a list of the things you enjoy as well as the things you want to do will help you get connected to what makes you feel joyous. Then commit to engaging in as many of those activities as often as possible. It is not frivolous to aspire to do things that bring more joy in to your life. In fact when we do that it can have an effect on our state of well being that permeates into all areas of our lives. Summer is a great time to begin practicing joyful activities on a daily basis, whether it be listening to music, reading, running, grilling, traveling or anything that makes you feel happy.
So wherever you plan on going this summer and whatever you plan on doing, do it while finding things you find pleasurable and consciously respecting your own time. The more mindful you are of what you want out of your summer and how you want to feel, the more likely it is that you will create what you want!