Jul 11

How Do You Get the Most Out of Your Summer?

Beautiful weather, time off work, kids are out of school, but how do you get the most out of your summer?

Some people plan so many activities that they feel exhausted before the summer is even over or they end up feeling disappointed because they didn’t achieve everything. Others can’t seem to actually plan enough, the summer flies by and they are left wondering what happened to it. Both are ideal skill sets when you make them work for you. If either scenario sounds like yours, keep reading, otherwise scroll down to see related links. So how do you strike the right balance? What would it take to feel like you did enough and really had time to relax and enjoy your summer?

Try writing down your list of goals for the summer. If you tend to over plan or over schedule then go back and try vetting your list. Ask yourself what are the most important things you want to have happen this summer? If you could only accomplish some of them, which ones would you keep. Do you need to let go of the last quarter of your list? Last half? Three-quarters of the list? How short does the list need to be in order to slow down enough to really enjoy the goals you’ve set? What else do you need to do to actually be in the moment while you are doing those activities? You might want to write that down too, so it remains a priority. Make that a critical part of the list. This is where you can put that skill set of yours to work. Do you need to develop more relaxation skills so you can be in the moment and/or just enjoy things as they unfold when you’re not doing a scheduled task? Do you need to leave time unscheduled to allow experiences to happen and to practice relaxing? Answering these questions and strengthening your ability to relax can take you a long way to getting the most out of this summer. Here’s a couple of links to get you started, from PsychCentral and WebMD, but there are thousands on the web. You may also like this free deep breathing app that gives you instant feedback on your progress when you lay your phone on your belly.

If you tend to get so caught up in the moment that you struggle to plan the activities that you want to accomplish then you need take a page from the folks above. You can also prioritize your list but you’ll need to focus even more on how you’re going to make it happen. Lists are great for this. Starting with the most important goal, break it into smaller tasks that will get you to your outcome.  Now go back and attach a timeline to each step. If that was easy for you, then try some more. If it was challenging or you worry about actually accomplishing each step, then maybe it’s time to polish up your goal setting skills.  Start with only one or two of your summer goals. Keep the timeline handy so you know what you need to work on each day or week. Maybe even build in rewards for accomplishing certain steps. Now keep in mind that you will likely have a much easier time enjoying each accomplishment along the way since that’s likely to be your strength. Slowing down and being present in the moment may come much easier for you as compared to the planning experts above. Here’s a link from MindTools to help with goal setting.

For the rest of you, you’re likely to be a bit of both but it’s probably a good reminder to help get the most out of your summer!

Other ways to get the most out of your summer from PsychCentral.

6 Parenting Tips for Summer

Parents: Prevent the Summer Academic Backslide

Summer Ideas for Teens

Summer Reading 20: Mental Health Books That Can Change Your Life