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Get Ready to Savor Summer

Get Ready to Savor Summer

With warmer weather upon us, most of us are starting to ponder how we might spend our summer months.  Pool parties approach, beach trips beckon, and cookouts call our name.  We look ahead longingly to vacations with our loved ones, free from the pressures of work assignments and home projects.  Even the prospect --- or in my case, the certainty --- of mosquito bites and sunburn can’t quite dampen our excitement.

That said, after the unique demands of the past year, how on earth are we to find the energy for all of this season’s activities?  Dreaming of summer fun is one thing, but doing is another.

Follow the steps below as you strive to make the most of these sunny months:

 

Establish expectations up front.

If you find it difficult to disconnect and decompress, make a point this season to carve out specific times for leisure and recreation.  It may require writing down a plan or even finding an accountability partner, but as best you can, create regular opportunities for fun.  As much as we’d like to be productive at all times, it’s okay to hop off the hamster wheel every once in a while.

Weigh your choices.

When you’re working with just a couple of months, it’s important to prioritize the activities that matter most to you.  If you’re craving family time, commit to making that long-awaited day trip with the kids and trying out the new eatery with your spouse.  If you’re dying to see your friend who lives a town over, plan for a visit over a long weekend.

    • Unfortunately, the time for all of our summer fun is finite, so intentionality is key. Give some thought to what you say “Yes” to.  If you overcommit, you’ll find yourself exhausted by the end of the season.

Work out.

Consistent exercise is an outstanding way to boost your energy over time.  And it doesn’t have to be anything too intense: a morning or evening stroll through your neighborhood should do the trick.  The more active you are right now, the more likely you’ll be to initiate and sustain fun activities this summer.

    • Continue this discipline into the summer and beyond --- it offers substantial benefits both to your physical and mental health.

Embrace the power of (positive) anticipation.

Rather than dreading all the activity, envision the good that will result from it: the tighter bond between you and your loved ones; the personal refreshment and revitalization; the welcome relief from any monotony in your routine.  You’re bound to enjoy the season more if you enter summer with a sense of eagerness and optimism.

Invite others’ input.

Sometimes all of the options can become overwhelming.  Seek the thoughts of your loved ones as you start to map out your summer commitments.  Do you desire to grow closer to a particular person or people?  If so, try to coordinate your schedule with theirs so that you can maximize your time together.

Give thanks.

Much like positive anticipation, gratitude helps us to enter summer with a spirit of excitement.  When we spend our time celebrating what we have rather than bemoaning what we lack, we exude a joy and confidence that are contagious.  What better way to reflect the sunniness of the season?

Don’t sweat it.

(Figuratively, of course.  We live in Memphis, so to say that you shouldn’t actually sweat in the middle of the summer would be both unfair and impossible.)  Cut yourself some slack when you feel the need to scale back on certain activities.  If you have to reevaluate a month in so that you can continue to prioritize who and what matter most, don’t be discouraged by a minor course-correction.

 

Summer began yesterday.  If you’re looking to make the most of it, there’s no time like the present to develop a plan of action.  Now is a wonderful chance to pursue a more active lifestyle, adopt a mindset of optimism and gratitude, and reconnect with loved ones old and new.

The pointers above merely offer a launchpad.  It’s up to you to make this a summer you’ll never forget!

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