Remember summers when you were a kid? We all had different experiences, but whether you spent your summers at camp, fishing with your parents, or lounging around a pool with buddies, chances are we all have one memory in common: free time. At least, before we got old enough for summer jobs.
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Since then, things have been different. The summer months can pass just like all the rest. Work, errands, second job, home, chores, sleep, repeat. Here are a few tips to help you, the busy grown-up, enjoy the summer despite your hectic schedule.
1. Embrace the idea that “downtime” is not a dirty word.
No matter how busy you were in the summers when you were a kid, chances are you weren’t nearly as booked as kids today. Most agree, they’re overscheduled. But, what about you? Are there things that you have planned for the summer that you don’t really need to do? Scheduling ourselves to the extreme is normalized these days, but maybe we should reconsider.
We pay a high cost for busyness, and forget the value of downtime for mental, physical, and intellectual health. Try to remember that downtime is a good thing, and resist submitting to the idea that not having a packed day signifies laziness or impending doom. While you’re at it, consider reducing your kids’ schedules this summer too, even just a little bit. Teaching your kids how to rest and relax is more important than ever in today’s culture of rushing and running.
2. Be extra organized for fun.
Plan your leisure activities this summer with the same gusto and commitment that you give to your job and you’re sure to find a little extra time for fun. If you’re supposed to do something you’re excited about after work, don’t stay late unless it’s absolutely urgent; rush out of there when you’re supposed to instead. Keep a beach bag packed in your car for days when you can steal a quick visit. Bring a change of clothes to work if you’re going to go do something fun after, so that you don’t lose time stopping at home. Being extra efficient about your time and the way you organize and plan for fun activities should help you get there faster and allow you to linger a little longer.
3. Go camping, or even, go to camp!
Really getting away is such a good thing. Camping is great because you’re not bound to your devices (or at least, you really shouldn’t be) and you are actually away from home. Having that distance, and the time and space to slow down and relax, will be so restorative. If you enjoyed going to camp as a kid, you also might want to consider one of the many camps for grown-ups that have sprung up all over the place. Don’t knock it till you try it.
4. Turn off the devices and get outside.
Think back one more time on the summers you had as a kid. How often did you use technology – or even electricity? Summer is a time to be outside, and being in nature is really healthy for you. But, you aren’t really present if your attention is back and forth between what you’re actually doing and your devices. Turn them off. Put them down. At least, pledge to just check the phone once an hour. This might help you to relax and replenish more than anything else you could do.
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