10 ways to make the most of summer . . .
My strategy for delivering good news and bad news? Blurt the bad news out first so the good news is what lingers in the aftermath.
The bad news? Labor Day seems to be impatient this year and will arrive earlier than it should have a right to. (That would be a September 1st kind of early.)
The good news? We still have a few weeks to make the most of the “official” season (not to mention there’s also the more-structured but still-spectacular September and October to look forward to).
Here are 10 suggestions for slowing down, diving in and savoring summer:
1. Make a summer bucket list.
For a few sweet summers in my 20s, my friends and I made a calendar of all the summertime fun we wanted to have, and we had it — BBQs, beach days, carnival dates, trips to Montauk. Mapping it all out not only let us anticipate the fun, it also made the summer feel more tangible instead of a blur of busyness.
What do YOU want to do and see before it’s time to pick pumpkins? Brainstorm. Write it all down. And then, plug everything into your calendar. When? Where? Feels good already, doesn’t it?
2. Just say no.
The flip side of planning is to perfect the art of doing nothing. (Remember, the song says that the livin’ is easy . . .) The best way to protect your precious downtime? Two little letters — n-o.
You don’t have to accept every invitation. You don’t have to pull every weed. Your child doesn’t have to attend every enrichment program. And, you don’t have to give a reason for bowing out. A simple “Thank you, but I won’t be able to make it,” is surprisingly effective . . . and liberating.
3. Start a summer routine.
Routines give us a framework for reflection and immersion in the moment. What’s something you could repeat daily that would bring more joy into your life? Watch the sun set each night. Have your morning coffee outside. Take a walk around the block after work. Read one chapter of a book each night.
4. Have a digital detox.
Unplug for however long you can as often as you can. That might be an hour, an evening, a day, a weekend . . . .
5. Learn something new.
Whether you’ve wanted to get up and out on a paddle board, take up knitting or learn Morse code (c’mon, I’m sure that’s on somebody’s list!),this is the time to start learning something new.
Being immersed in an unfamiliar activity actually makes it feel like time is going by more slowly. Remember how summer used to seem almost endless when you were a child soaking up life lessons like a sponge?
6. Make “al fresco” a priority.
Get outside whenever and wherever you can.
7. Mix your summer playlist.
Let your inner DJ out to mix up a soundtrack to fill your day with sunshine. What songs will make you think of the Summer of 2014? How about the classics that never fail to put you in a summertime state of mind?
8. Savor simple pleasures.
9. Write a letter to a summer friend.
Remember the kid next door who helped man your lemonade stand and the cousin who you caught fireflies with every July until you were 11? How about your roommate at basketball camp and your confidant at your first summer job?
Think about someone who played — or still plays — a significant role in your summer and write him/ her a note. You don’t have to say much — just reminiscing and then sharing your memories will spread good summer vibes.
10. Go night swimming.
Whether you choose to go in the buff or take a more modest dip, hey, that’s up to you. Night swimming is all about igniting your senses and sparking your sense of adventure. And remember, never go night swimming alone — safety first, and it’s waaaay more fun with friends.