Summertime & the Livin' is Easy
I did a little experiment over the past two weeks. You may have noticed you didn’t hear from me. (At least I hope you noticed!)
I tagged along with my husband to Maui as he had some meetings down there. This didn’t suck. The meetings fell right before our two-year wedding anniversary, so we made a little vacation out of it. I had never been to Maui, nor Hawaii for that matter, and it was simply stunning—paradise for sure. All the rumors are true.
That wasn't the experiment, though.
Here’s the experiment: I decided I would give myself permission to live way outside the lines during the nearly two weeks I was away. This meant if I wanted to sleep in, I’d sleep in. If I wanted to lay by the pool and drink fruity drinks with umbrellas in them, I did. If I wanted to go for a long walk, I’d go. If I wanted to eat french fries and banana bread for lunch, bon appétit. I didn’t work…at all. I let the meditation slide as well as writing and daily exercise and all the things that keep me feeling grounded.
Side note: I have a tendency to want to be overly productive, and this idea of rest feels more like a dirty four-letter word than a blessing. Also, I don’t like to sit still very much. I can’t remember the last time I went on vacation for more than one week and there wasn’t some type of work involved. For example, last summer we went to the beach for a week and instead of frolicking in the ocean, I spent nearly three-to-four hours a day writing copy for my website or editing a podcast. Then I’d go for a run. Then I’d go sit on the beach with a book for around thirty minutes until I got bored again.
I realize this is not a way to live and there’s not even the faintest whiff of balance baked in. I’m very much working on this, hence the experiment.
Needless to say, this experiment was a failure. I managed to finish, but barely. I didn’t feel like myself. I felt completely disconnected and discombobulated…all the “dis” words. Don’t judge me.
Also, please believe me, I am over-the-top grateful for the time away in such a magical place! We had the most fun. Yet, I learned a crucial lesson from my “research" (besides the fact that I’m a work in progress): rest looks different for everyone and doesn’t mean we disconnect from ourselves.
This is important for you and I as we roll into the summer months. Why? Because I strongly believe we can develop the summer blues just as easily as we can the winter ones. The cause isn’t necessarily a lack of vitamin D though; it’s a sneaking and oh-so-subtle disconnection from purpose. I say this a lot, and it’s worth repeating: the opposite of depression isn’t happiness, it’s purpose.
It can be so easy to disconnect from purpose and the structures that promote a sense of grounding when June rolls around, especially if you work for yourself or have a non-traditional work schedule. School’s out, travel ramps up, and porch hangs abound. It’s a glorious time to connect with friends and family, yet it’s also a ripe time to let self-care slide among other things.
With this shift at hand, I have three simple reminders to put in your back pocket as you embrace the lazy days of summer:
Know thy rest
Do your own experiment in order to better understand what you need in terms of rest. This doesn’t mean follow my extreme lead and swing hard in the other direction. For example, I feel most rested when I’m tuned into desire and filling up my creativity tank doing things like exploring new places, cooking for friends, or reading a good book. I get anxious when I watch Netflix in the middle of the day.
Your version may look much different and include periods of totally unplugging and taking catnaps in the afternoon. Neither way is right or wrong. The important thing is to find what you need in order to facilitate renewal in the season you’re in.
Dogs need fences
After about two days of roaming about in the wild and wooly unknown parts of the neighborhood, chances are your dog will miss the safety and consistency of your fenced-in backyard. We, for the most part, are the same. Structure is a good thing and truly helps us stay connected to what we deep down desire, which I believe to be connection and purpose. Sure, we all need to get off the grid at times, yet consistency over time builds emotional resilience, and I have a strong suspicion you are here because you want to experience more of that. I know I do.
Give yourself some grace
In the end, the most important thing you can give yourself (and others) is grace and compassion. More than structure, more than purpose, more than self-care—you name it. Self-compassion and radical acceptance beget desired outcome much faster than a fear-based need to control. I love this quote:
“Where we think we need more self-discipline, we usually need more self-love.”
- Tara Mohr
I sincerely hope you’re easing into this summer season with equal parts desire and grace…and a heavy dash of amusement.
Love & Gratitude,