There are two type of people when it comes to the anticipation of summer, those who rejoice and those who dread. As a child, summer holds everything that we desire: nice weather, outside time, friends, and no school or responsibility. As an adult, it still holds some of that, but also brings its own set of stressors. While many people still feel that heightened energy during the first sunny warm days and start planning all of their fun summer activities, others struggle to juggle the extra responsibility that may come such as childcare for the working parent or extra financial burdens. It is so easy to be carried away in the fun and excitement of summer, but it is just as easy to forget about the spirit of summer that we develop as children. Here are some ways to mentally prepare yourself for the most productive and fun summer possible, no matter what type of person you are.
- Enjoy the Weather: especially in certain areas, the first few days of summer and the last days of spring are just about the best weather you will get all year long. They end a long snowy season and tend to lead to the feeling of vacation. Take advantage of those days. Even if you can’t take time off of work, use your free time to take a walk, drive with the windows down, or go to a park. Enjoy this sneak peak of summer before the weather goes to the other extreme.
- Make Plans: don’t leave summer up to chance. Not knowing what the plans are leaves too much open space and that can be overwhelming. It also leaves the opportunity to over book yourself too easily. Planning ahead helps cover all areas: fun plans, childcare, finances, and socializing.
- Include Others: part of the fun of summer is having extra time to be with people. It stays light later, work sometimes slows down, and kids are out of school. So use that to your advantage and have others help cover some of these extra chores and fun activities. Plan outings with friends rather than going on your own. It takes away some of the burden and adds extra fun. Also ask for help, especially in areas like arranging childcare. Sometimes you might even find a friend who has the summer off and is looking for a little extra cash, creating a wonderful stress free win-win situation.
- Prioritize: finding extra time in summer is not always easy, but is possible. Prioritize what matters most to you. If spending time with your kids outside it the priority, take a break from scheduling dinners with friends. If you have to work extra, maybe some of the housework has to get delegated. If you want to do 100 activities but only have time for 50, write out a ranking list, make a calendar, and make the best out of the ones you can.
- Take Care of Yourself: don’t forget about what keeps you balanced and healthy, both mentally and physically. It is easy to get swept away in all the fun activities and forget to take care of yourself, but this must be a priority. If you can, plan wellness visits, such as physical and dental cleanings during the non prime summer months to create the most open time. It is also important to maintain healthy diet, exercise, and sleep patterns in order to create the best physical health and to be able to enjoy summer to the fullest.
- Set Realistic Expectations: don’t build up the perfect summer in your head and create expectations that you absolutely cannot live up to. Make realistic plans and enjoy them to the fullest. Creating the ideal summer only leads to stress to maintain that expectation and disappointment at not living up to it. Summers will never be the same as they were as children, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be just as good.
- Find Free Activities: if money is tight or a stressor over the summer, find free local activities such as fairs and zoos. Pack your own picnic lunch. Hike outside or camp. There are ways to enjoy the summer without breaking the bank, that is one of the biggest benefits of the warm weather.