If you’re like most folks I know, life speeds up a bit in the fall, gets crazy busy during the holidays, and evens out to a swift trot as spring arrives. You may tell yourself that it’s simply modern life, yet you desire a little recharge to remind you there’s more to life.
Then comes sum-sum-summertime.
Even if you’re no longer tied to the rhythm of the school year, the arrival of summertime almost demands that you slow down. Because, let’s face it, this go-go-go mentality has wrung your brain dry of intellectual agility and sucked the creativity from your very soul.
I am a big fan of small acts of self-care to ensure that you don’t find yourself burned out. I am also a realist and know that there is a season for everything. There’s the season of the holidays, when demands on your social life grow. Fall always ushers in the need to get life in gear. And, of course, who can deny the siren’s call of New Year’s Resolutions or the heady excitement of coming spring?
I look at life as a rotating season. Yes, there are seasons in our life when we ARE busier. Yet, your mind is like a muscle, requiring careful maintenance to ensure it isn’t pushed beyond its limits. Your emotional well-being is also not an inexhaustible resource.
And though you may not look at your soul as a separate part of you, there’s no denying that our souls also need tending. I’m sure I’m not the only person who, after an exhausting experience, feels not only tired, but soul weary.
That’s why I’m inviting you to see the opportunity to use summer as your time to recharge mind, body, and soul. And then parlay that into a way to regularly schedule Life Maintenance into your life when the busier seasons hit. Here are just nine ways to recharge your mind, body, and soul.
Recharge Your Mind
Take up a new hobby. One of the biggest complaints I hear from folks is that they are too busy to pursue a hobby, yet when they retire, find themselves hobby-less and bored. Make the time to learn a new skill, take up a sport you want to try, or pursue something creative. Learning invites the mind to be more flexible, which helps stave off dementia.
Turn envy or jealousy into energy. When we envy others, we are only hurting ourselves. The universe does not owe you because someone else is better off than you. When you choose, instead, to channel those feelings of envy or jealousy as a way to discover what you might really desire in your life, it can lead you in exciting and new directions. Channel that energy into building who you always wanted to be in this world.
Set a new goal. Our minds love actually being used and challenged. I find that summer is a great time to take stock of what I’ve accomplished, and look ahead into what I still might want to create before the end of the year. It’s also a great time to revisit those resolutions you made (and likely discarded) at the beginning of the year. The start of summer is six months from year-end; harness that summer sunshine and use the time to make a change.
Recharge Your Body
Get more rest. There are so many temptations out there to occupy us, yet more and more, we are hearing new research on how critical it is to get adequate sleep. By committing to more rest now, you are giving your body multiple rewards. First of all, it takes us two weeks to recover from one long night, so you’ll be paying off your sleep debt. Secondly, it is teaching your body new rhythms so that when the busier times do return, you will be in the habit of giving your body adequate rest. Last, but not least, studies found that just an extra half-hour of sleep translated into being more productive! Creating better sleep hygiene is a great way to recharge the body.
Take advantage of the season’s bounty. If you were to commit to adding fresh, in season fruits and vegetables to just one meal a day, you’ll nourish your body with good nutrients. Like with sleep, it can help get you in a new habit. When you fuel your body with quality fuel, it can’t help but feel recharged.
Experience Nature. Summer is the perfect time to take an early morning – or late evening walk. It’s a great time to just sit on the porch and read. Or maybe go to the lake or the beach. Researchers found that surgery patients healed a day faster when they could view nature out of their hospital windows compared to those who didn’t see nature. This shows us that regular time in nature will help you recharge and heal your body. Especially from all that hard work you put it through!
Recharge Your Soul
Buy yourself a new lipstick. No, I’m not asking you to become a girly-girl or focus on glamour. This is a piece of soul tending that goes beyond the body. See, researchers at Harvard Medical School found that ladies who put on lipstick before an exam scored 20% higher than those who didn’t. There’s something about tending your body that translate to confidence and happiness. That goes soul deep. It also sends a signal to your essence that pretty things matter. (If you’re a man, consider a new kind of shave-cream or hair pomade; men need pampering, too.)
Create a new spiritual practice. Maybe you’ve been wanting to go back to church. Perhaps you’ve been wanting to learn to meditate, or there’s a spiritual book you’ve been meaning to read. Whatever your mind goes to when I suggest a new spiritual practice, that’s the voice of your soul asking for nourishment. By choosing something new to feed your soul, you’ll be able to recharge it. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll discover a new spiritual practice that sticks.
Commit to a Summer of No Complaints. Complaining is a choice to focus on the problem instead of seeking a solution. Focusing on problems, and then verbalizing them, creates a continuous stream of energy flowing towards what’s not working. When it comes to your romantic relationships, The Gottman Institute found that couples who share negative interactions are more likely to divorce early. What’s worse is that we are more likely to believe criticism over compliments, which destroys our confidence.
Summer may seem like the season of lounging in the sun, or frolicking in the pool or at the beach, and those are perfectly valid ways to spend time (just remember to use sunscreen), but it’s easy to put too much weight on the ‘lazy’ part of the ‘lazy, hazy, crazy days’ of summer.