The Art Of A Slow Summer
How practicing mindfulness, connecting with nature and trying something new can beat the FOMO and set you up for a season of transformation.
As an entrepreneur and a mother, it can be hard to find balance in my home and work life. In the summer, the pressure only increases as I juggle the time that I must devote to work with the time that my family wants to spend at the beach or pool. Work commitments don’t stop, but we also travel more – and then there are the other relationships to maintain. Lately, I find myself removing social events from my calendar in order to focus on my priorities and the things that bring me joy.
While many look forward to summer, it’s often a struggle for some to find the time and space for slowing down enough to enjoy the season. If you’re feeling the summer overwhelm, here are a few tips to help become more mindful of its unique goodness.
Practice Mindful Breathing
Each morning, set aside a few minutes to become aligned and present before you face the responsibilities of your day.
“Before your feet hit the ground, sit up in bed and take a few relaxing deep breaths,” says Mindfulness and Meditation Teacher Norma Rubio. “Start to notice the breath in your body.”
Mindful breathing can also help you manage stress throughout the day.
“Summer is supposed to be fun, but we can get stressed out and overwhelmed planning that fun,” cautions Rubio. “Pausing to pay attention to your present moment experience and focusing on your breathing will help ground you.”
Start A Mindful Ritual
Yoga and meditation are commonly used to reconnect with your body and calm your mind. “Begin to establish an awareness or a meditation practice,” recommends Rubio. “Meditation can be beneficial even when you only do it for a few minutes each day.”
While meditation and yoga are trendy, many experts will tell you that the best ritual is the one that you truly enjoy.
“Self-care is about you,” says Life Coach and Intuitive Consultant Avaluara Gaither. “Anyone can meditate, but you have to decide what works for you and whether it is sustainable. Your practice may involve writing in a journal, rather than practicing yoga or meditation.”
Connect With Nature
Summer is the perfect time to reap the benefits of warmer weather and sunshine with mindful walking.
“There is a sense of interconnectedness with something outside of yourself when you are in nature,” says Rubio. “As you walk, take in the full experience by noticing the colors, sounds and smells around you. It can be a transformative experience.”
Even if you are not a big fan of the outdoors, spending a little time outside can still work wonders. “While you are at work, take a break to go stand in the sun,” Gaither advises. “Vitamin D is good for your health and the sunshine can be rejuvenating.”
Try Something New
Doing something that you’ve never done before can inject a sense of adventure into your every day.
“This is the season of play, so have fun and experiment,” says Gaither. “Trying something new not only helps you reconnect with yourself, but it also allows you to connect with others. If you’re stuck in a rut, a new experience can create a needed shift.”
Stop With The FOMO
If you’re stressing because you feel like your summer isn’t living up to your expectations, realize that this is normal. “We put pressure on ourselves to be perfect, that is just part of human nature,” says Rubio. “Recognize when you are having negative thoughts and pay attention to where you feel anxiety in your body.”
External pressure can also mount during the summer when you’re busy measuring progress on the goals that you set at the beginning of the year. In this case, Gaither suggests a change in mindset.
“It’s not about completing a checklist. Instead, ask yourself – ‘Who am I and what is my purpose?’ If your life doesn’t look the way you want it to at this moment, how can you change it?”
Recently, I reduced my hectic schedule. Most mornings, I write in my gratitude journal, meditate and read. I spend my lunch hour walking a nearby nature trail and observing the ducks and the turtles. Walking mindfully has brought more clarity and order to my life than obsessing over to-do lists.
I’m also much more likely to ditch work for an afternoon at the pool with my kids and I stopped committing to social events that don’t truly excite me. Now, I view summer as a season of transformation and no longer equate extreme busyness with success.
To me, real success is about living mindfully in order to create a life that I love.
Shanon Lee is an American writer, journalist, filmmaker and media personality that has been featured in National Geographic, HuffPost Live, The Wall Street Journal, TV One and the REELZ Channel’s Scandal Made Me Famous. She is a contributor for Healthline, Refinery29 and The Lily at The Washington Post. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter.