As July draws to a close, it can be difficult to see past the blazing sun, unbearable humidity, heat waves, and sunscreen as you race from work to soccer practices, swimming lessons, day camp activities, and play dates. Summer obligations can be just as tiring as those during the school year, but with lengthened daylight and more lenient schedules, it is important to take this time to engage in activities that ground you and your loved ones before the rush of the fall sets in. A guide that I have found useful in attaining summertime satisfaction is what I like to call the “3 Rs” – relax, refresh, and reconnect.
Relax: Relaxation can take many forms. Of course, the first option that pops into many people’s minds is vacation! Yes, planned vacations are an excellent way to get out of the rut of day-to-day activities and experience something new. But there’s no reason to limit your relaxation time to trips out of town! The summer is a great time to finally curl up on the couch with that book you’ve been meaning to read for months. Or take the book to the poolside and read while sipping a nice, cool drink. Whether it’s yoga, stretching, taking a quiet walk, journaling, or something else, the bottom line is that many activities can bring a sense of peace and calm to an otherwise hectic lifestyle.
Refresh: With the hustle and bustle of the spring, fall, and winter seasons, we sometimes have the tendency to let hobbies, household chores, and skill sets fall to the wayside. With longer daylight hours, the summer makes it a bit easier to get back on track in several areas. Perhaps you’d like to refresh your tennis skills or rekindle your passion for a particular exercise. Similarly, the summer is a great time to fix the deck, repaint several rooms, remodel the bathroom, or engage in a large “decluttering” process throughout the house. Yet another option is to utilize this time to brush up on the auxiliary skills necessary for your job. Many workplaces offer “refresher” courses in the summertime to make sure that you’re still operating at peak performance.
Reconnect: Couples can use the extra time in the summer to reconnect with their partners in a variety of ways. Making plans to see a movie, trying dinner at a new restaurant, or taking a walk along the waterfront are just a few excellent ways to enjoy exclusive one-on-one time with your partner. Use this opportunity to check in, listen and reflect, and even revisit your individual and relationship goals. Whatever form it takes, this time also offers a great opportunity to express appreciation for the big and small things that your significant other contributes to the relationship.
In a similar manner, parents can spend the summer time reconnecting with their children. Don’t feel obligated to keep them occupied with an activity or practice 7 days/week. Use free time to get down on the floor and color with them or let them help you make a special batch of cookies. Make time to talk with them after a busy day and engage them in conversation about their highs and lows for the day or week. Take each child on an individual trip for a treat or an errand and use that time to have in-depth conversations about whatever is on your child’s mind. You’ll be surprised to see how pleased and special a child feels when he/she realizes that mommy or daddy wants to spend alone time just with him/her. (Note: Parent’s Day is this Sunday, July 31. Do something to make the day memorable!)
The summer is an excellent time to do many of the things that you typically do not have the time or energy to do. As we enter the last full month of the season, keep these three little “Rs” in mind to keep you centered and connected.
How do you find ways to use the 3 “Rs” in your busy life? Let me know in the comments below!