Whether you run your own business or the boardroom, you need to make time to relax and restore yourself. You can only go so far before you burn out. Proactively investing time in yourself helps you consistently excel as a professional.
The summer offers a great opportunity to hit that pause button. Just the presence of warm weather already invites your body to take a break and relax. But how do you know which activities are restorative and which wear you down more?
When you’re making space for your own restoration and recovery, there are three areas of wellbeing to work on – your body, mind, and emotion. This process looks different for everyone, so we’ve put together some suggestions to get you inspired.
4 Things To Do in the Summer
Restoring Your Body
When people think about taking care of their bodies, they first think about exercise. Sure, a jog might do some good, but what happens when you are so worn down by the end of the week that you can’t get out of bed? Your body needs rest, not more stress.
You don’t need running shoes to enjoy the local park. If a restorative walk seems more your pace, getting out and moving could help you process thoughts still churning in your head from the last week. Your body might simply need to sit on a park bench and soak up the sunshine.
Getting to a farmer’s market also presents an excellent opportunity to appreciate the summer day without strenuous exercise. While browsing the vegetables, fruits, preserves, and jars of honey, you might be inspired to make a dinner you’ve never tried before. Maybe you’ll find inspiration for a mason jar cocktail!
It’s easy to get in a food rut; you’re good at making a quick four or five recipes, so why branch out? Seeing produce you normally don’t think to pick up during your weekly trip to the grocery store could give you a renewed excitement for cooking fresh flavors.
Restoring Your Mind
When was the last time you turned your mind off? And not because you fell asleep on the couch using Netflix as white noise.
When was the last time you thought about the future and wondered if you were making strides towards that future? Is what you’re slogging through now projecting you towards the future you want?
How are you supposed to know?
We live with ourselves, so we assume we know ourselves. Spending the day practicing mindfulness helps us become more in tune with our mental states and current needs.
Meditation takes time to master, or even get sort of good at. Taking five minutes every day to check in with yourself and your body helps you understand your emotions, get a diagnostic on how you feel, and what your current needs are.
There are a number of apps available in this space, both free and with subscriptions. Subscription-based apps generally give a free trial period so you can see if their meditation styles work for you. A few good options to try include:
- Wysa: An AI-based app that you have text conversations with. It tracks your moods and offers meditation prompts based on your needs. You unlock the whole app with a subscription.
- Insight Timer: Lots of free options on meditation, sleep, stress, and talks but can be expanded by a subscription
- Headspace: Subscription-based, but offers a number of specialized courses and sleep stories.
Practice guided meditation so you can get better at reading your emotions on your own.
If meditation sounds too intimidating, start by having coffee with yourself.
Turn your phone off, get a cup of coffee, tea, wine, or water, sit at a table, and take the time that you would if you were meeting a friend for a coffee date. Spend that uninterrupted time actively thinking with yourself.
Does the thought of spending time alone with yourself make you uncomfortable? That’s a sign that you need it even more.
Restoring Your Emotions
What brings you joy?
Sure, you say that you love to read, do puzzles, go swimming, and write in your spare time.
But do you ever make time to pursue those things? When was the last time you turned off your phone so those emails couldn’t come pouring in to interrupt your guilty pleasures?
It’s easy to sit on the couch, throw on TV, and scroll the night away. But what if you took that half-hour show and instead got your favorite blanket, turned off your phone, sat by the air conditioning, and dove into a book you really want to read. Not the book you tell people is on your list because it sounds smart, but the book you can’t put down.
Go read that book.
Go to a swimming hole, attend that backyard barbecue, eat that ice cream and hot dogs. Take that weekend road trip and fall asleep watching the stars on a summer night.
When looking for things to do in the summer, think about all those summer activities you looked forward to when you were a teen and the summer meant freedom. Go do those things!
Invest in Your Happiness
Even if you’re tight on funds, there are ways you can have fun on a budget this summer. Giving yourself permission to care for your body, mind, and emotional health is the first step to investing that time and space into your own wellbeing. Let loose, have fun, and think beyond productivity. You have a whole summer long to check things off (or even make) your bucket list.
Work culture in the United States will have you believe that you need to earn relaxation and that things or people only have inherent value when they are productive. You weren’t born just to be productive and die.
You were born to be yourself and enjoy the time you’ve got. Smile because you deserve happiness, not because you owe it to anyone else.
Author, Artist, Photographer.
Sarah Margaret is an artist who expresses her love for feminism, equality, and justice through a variety of mediums: photography, filmmaking, poetry, illustration, song, acting, and of course, writing.
She owns Still Poetry Photography, a company that showcases her passion for capturing poetic moments in time. Instead of poetry in motion, she captures visual poetry in fractions of a second, making cherished keepsakes of unforgettable moments.
She is the artist behind the Still Poetry Etsy shop, which houses her illustrations and bespoke, handmade items. She is the author of intricacies are just cracks in the wall, a narrative poetry anthology that follows a young woman discovering herself as she emerges from an abusive relationship.