Happy Thursday, you brilliant, powerful, ray of sunshine! Here’s to a beautiful weekend ahead 🙂
Here in the Northern Hemisphere, summer is upon us. Whether you’re in the states and abide by the traditional Memorial Day kick-off or your summer follows a stricter calendar, the season of cook-outs, vacations, suntans and arguably the best wardrobe of the year is right around the corner. Guys soon the weather will be nice enough to wear short sleeves every day… This is a miracle for the Northeastern US 😉
In honor of this most miraculous and shimmery of seasons*, this week we have a happy little guide to make the most of your summer. You won’t find a single tip for crafting your beach bod, must-have summer duds or how to avoid sun exposure.
*If you’re reading this while heading in to winter, or another time of the year, these thoughts still work as an overall guide to making the most of any holiday!
- Make a To-Do List.
Summer, vacation, holidays, and those stray days off are supposed to be free. I get that. And nothing allows me to get more free time out of my free time as a good plan. Take some time before you get to those days off and make a list of things you’d like to do, see, experience, accomplish and eat before they’re over. Think about what made your past adventures great, what you would change, things you’ve always wanted to do, and the little moments that stick with you. And get those suckers in a list!
You might not get to all of them, but crossing things off the list isn’t the point of this to-do list. The point is to dream. To reminisce and savor the memories and start anticipating the good stuff you’ll get up to.
- Try something new!
It is so natural to get comfortable in our usual patterns; the route to work, ordering The Usual, making the same plans every weekend. It’s comfy! It doesn’t take much extra work and so you can get right to the relaxing and enjoyable part of the plan. The phrase “variety is the spice of life” didn’t last around this long for nothing. Nothing can refresh your life, change your perspective, bring you new appreciation and gratitude or inspire you quite like changing it up.
Now I know that this might be a challenge. Your free time is limited, and you want to be sure to suck every last ounce of goodness from it. Vacation is only a few days long and it’s daunting to risk spending one of them doing something you won’t like.
Start small. This summer start by adding in a new place for breakfast. Go on a scavenger hunt for the best cup of coffee in your city. Drive a new route to your traditional vacation spot, and take some detours. Use an app like Roadtrippers, GoogleMaps or TripAdvisor to find new things to do and go check them out.
- Be creative.
All this new exploration should be quite effective at stirring up those creative juices. It’s tempting when you’re on holiday to fill your days of all the traditional “vacation” things. Reading books on the beach. Road trips. Binge watching your favorite shows and movies. Shopping. Sitting around doing nothing.
Make some time in there to make something new. Bake your favorite recipe. Learn the piano piece you’ve been meaning to work on. Paint the scenery you saw on that road trip. Choreograph moves to your favorite summer jam. Don’t let the summer end without letting yourself exercise that creative muscle you’ve been meaning to work.
- Curate the perfect playlist.
Ok, this might be one you’d find on a People mag list for summer, but I stand by it. There’s a reason why movies have always been accompanied by soundtracks. Music has the power to amplify any emotion, and even tell you what you should be feeling in any given moment. Go grab the Schindler’s List soundtrack and tell me it doesn’t do something different to you than The Greatest Showman. This summer needs a suitable soundtrack!
While the radio can be great, no on air DJ will compare with what you can put together yourself. I don’t know why we ever stopped making mix tapes and writing our own CD’s, but now’s your chance to reclaim a lost art. Find your favorite vacation tunes, the must have cruising in the car with the windows down jams, the songs that always make you wish you were at a backyard barbecue with a lemonade in your hand, and buy them. Or download them, or get them on Spotify, or add them to a YouTube playlist. Whatever you do, get them, play them, feel the elation. Repeat. From then on you will always have a way to transport yourself back to those blissful moments.
- Get photographic mementos, and do it well.
Years ago my photographer brother told me “If it’s worth taking a picture, it’s worth taking a good picture”. I had just tried to take a picture of a new sight while walking past and slowing slightly, which of course was out of focus, sideways and vaguely blurry from the motion of the camera. His wisdom still rings in my head every time I catch myself trying to snap off photos of memorable events while still half-participating.
If you are enjoying something enough to want to have a digital reminder, make sure that the interruption is worth it, and make it a dang good shot. Ask people to move. Take a minute to frame it. Remove yourself from the center of action long enough to capture some good candids. Hold up the other people in your group because a store window is just too pretty to pass up. Buy the waterproof floatation device for your cell phone.
Then put it away and reconnect with the moment!
- Indulge in some special treats.
Vacation is always a bit hard on the healthy lifestyle, eh? The menu is unpredictable, there are a million more temptations, other people are indulging and it feels like you should to (or they tell you that you should too), and it’s a challenge to stick to any kind of healthy eating plan. But you should 100% listen to all those blogs and lists and advice articles about how to do it, because you will enjoy your time that much more and feel so much better when you get back to your usual schedule.
Sticking to that planful and intentional eating habit is crucial so that you can best enjoy the delicacies that come with days off. Nothing feels and tastes as good to me as a mid-afternoon pastry when I know that I have been active, well-nourished and rested. Have the gelato. Find the best donut your city has to offer. Eat a chocolate bar you’ve always wanted to try. Do it with vigor. Savor it. Make it special. Have fun with exclusive summer treats! Because your body is ready for it.
- Do something scary.
Like, karaoke scary, not necessarily diving with sharks in a wet-suit filled with spiders scary. Unless that’s what it takes to get your adrenaline pumping. And then, by all means…
Summertime is relaxing. It’s full of lazing around, wasting time, doing nothing, and loving every minute. My best summers have also been filled with taking risks I don’t normally take during the work week. I floated down a river in an inner-tube during a thunderstorm. I joined a running club. I went bridge jumping. I held moon jellyfish. Each of those things had always been intimidating or downright scary to me, and doing them taught me so much! Every time we do something that has previously scared us, we grow. We change. We teach ourselves that we are stronger than our fears, and stronger than the things that used to scare us. It’s a liberating and empowering thing, and you need to get some of it in your life! STAT!
- Take care of yourself.
I’ve spent all this time extoling the wonders of vacation, but we all know that the day after vacation it feels like we could use a few more days. Being away from home, and work and responsibilities, free to slack off, eat whatever we want, do nothing, it takes a toll. Which is why you need to take care of yourself throughout the process. Take breaks. Spend some time alone. Eat well. Go to the spa. Make sure that when you have to re-enter the real world (or head into autumn;)) you’re ready for it.
Wishing you a season full of special memories, long days in the sun, and refreshment that stays with you as you go. ❤