What was that strange yellow ball in the sky yesterday morning? Could it be our shy summer sun? With summer solstice around the corner, it is a normal Atlantic Canadian response to stockpile propane or coals and meat that fits on a stick. It is also normal to start creating a to-do list longer than your sun-deprived legs with garden work, outdoor repairs, plans for exercise, ideas for reconnecting with people, vacations, entertaining children …For some this may be a really fun list. For others who are feeling worn out from the long winter and rainy, gray spring, such lists may feel overly burdensome. We all know how short summer can be, so consider the importance of planning some fun without pressure. We all know how fun pressure feels. It can come from internal sources (i.e. perfectionist tendencies such as “I really should pull all my weeds…it will only take me the entire afternoon”) or external sources (i.e. weighty expectations of others such as “my father’s coming over so you really should get at that lawn.”). What about what you truly want to do this summer?
Summer can fly by and land into busy September so it is so important that we fortify ourselves over the summer months. So how would it be to make a fun list of activities (or lack of activities) that you truly want to do this summer to balance out the not-so-fun items? We are pretty fortunate to live in such a beautiful part of the world, with natural splendor to enjoy affordably (i.e. tearing through Shubie Park with some bird seed, walking on beaches, visiting the great markets on the waterfronts). There is always something going on somewhere in Metro during the summer. Exercising on a sunny day can be so refreshing or it can leave you with zero-fun sun-stroke so take a balanced approach to sweating off the winter and tanning.
Vacations are an excellent example of how pressure to do too much can easily throw off the fun-factor. Scheduling in down-time and not over-extending or over-spending is very important to avoid returning from vacation in need of a real vacation or a three-day de-stressing period. Ensuring that you allow yourself some transition time after vacation is also very healthy. I have learned the hard way that stepping off the plane and pulling an outfit for work out of the bottom of my bag is very low on the fun scale. Give yourself at least a day to get your bearings before returning to work. If you do not have paid vacation time, make the most of your time off this summer by planning ahead with your personal fun-list. If you are feeling miserable looking out the window at work at all the sun and fun you are missing, plan a picnic supper on the beach instead of waiting for the weekend when the sun may not make an appearance. If there is a lack of outdoor seating at your work, bring a camp chair and find a sunny spot for your lunch or coffee break. A few minutes of sun and fresh air can feed your soul!