Before we get started, I’d like to apologize to my Aussie friends. I know you are bundling up for winter. Hopefully, some of these tips will still apply and you still love me even though I have months of sunshine and warm temps coming.
There is a magical time that kicks off on Memorial Day weekend and wraps up over Labor Day weekend called summertime. That might not be the official calender summer, but we all know that’s when it is.
The days are getting longer and warmer and everyone seems to be in a better mood when the sun shines. Shedding winter clothes, pounds and heating bills invites a collective sigh knowing that things are about to get light.
Sometimes all of this extra time and energy leads to more …
- more work
- more obligation
- more travel
- more creativity
- more gatherings
And, because we are conditioned to do so, we try to cram it all in and make the most of the more. Instead, to really enjoy the beauty of summer, I am calling for a slow down.
The Summer Slow Down Guide
Start a morning routine.
This is a great time to start building a little time for yourself in the early morning hours. It is easier to wake up earlier in the Summer. Your body responds to natural light. Go to sleep with your shades open and let the light in. Wake up 5 minutes early tomorrow and create a meaningful morning routine.
Clean less by owning less.
The last place you want to spend summer is behind a vacuum cleaner. A daily or bi-weekly sweep up/wipe down is so much easier without clutter on the counter and stuff all over the floor. Take a trip to Goodwill or your local donation center with anything that means nothing to you.
Say no thank you.
Wedding invitations, garden parties, neighborhood gatherings and other summer functions are all vying for your attention. You don’t have to be everywhere and you don’t need a fancy excuse to bow out. Spend time with people you love, and attend activities and events that you enjoy. A simple, “Thanks for the invite but I can’t make it.” will do for the rest.
Read a good book.
Summer is the perfect time to throw a blanket on the grass and get lost in a book. Try Brooke Berman’s No Place Like Home: A Memoir in 39 Apartments or choose something from my reading list or the ultimate book list
Take a hike.
Get into the woods or onto a local trail with your kids, friends or other people you love. Stretch your legs and marvel at how green and lush everything is. You leave everything behind when you step onto the dirt. The air smells different. Noises and views are new and different and a walk in the woods gives you a chance to reduce your stress with every step.
If you want to make the most of lovely summer evenings, leave your phone at home. Seriously, leave home without it and see how it changes everything about how your experience. Trade constant connection, Googling and checking the weather for an opportunity for genuine connection to the people and world around you.
There is magic and wonder about growing something. You don’t have to grow everything. Instead, grow just one thing. You don’t need impressive gardening skills to tend to one plant.
Visit your past.
There is a big difference between living in the past and just visiting. Set aside a little time to reflect on and learn from your past. Celebrate your accomplishments, forgive your shortcomings and be grateful for all that you’ve experienced. It’s shaped who you are today and you are wonderful.
If you are willing to break out of your routine and break up with your to-do list, there is more time for you to enjoy the most meaningful adventures.
Reclaim the lost art of lingering.
Summer is a time for slow meals, dangling feet over docks, stargazing and lazy walks. There is no agenda, just pure joy. Learn to cultivate dolce far niente and embrace time and space to linger.
Think fresh, local, whole food.
Whole, fresh food is less expensive, easy to access and completely delicious in the summer. Go to your local farmer’s markets and discover what a tomato is supposed to taste like. Try a simple vegan recipe and eat real food. The best way to change your body and your health is to eat better food.
That’s joywalk, not jaywalk. I want you to be safe. Instead of walking for exercise or walking to get somewhere, take a joywalk. Go slow. Stop and smell flowers. Say hi to people when you pass them and walk just for the joy of it.
How will you spend your time this summer? It will go by in a flash unless you intentionally decide to take steps to make it count. Linger, marvel, gaze, appreciate and soak up your summer moments. They will keep you warm next winter.