One of the things I love about summer is how relaxed it is.
One of the things I hate about summer is how relaxed it is.
We start off in the cool days of early June loving life, relishing in our new bedtimes, and spending long days relaxing in the yard with a glass of lemonade and a sprinkler.
But by the time we get to July, it’s apparent things have fallen apart a bit. Those slightly later bedtimes have turned into nightly free-for-alls where it’s a race to get the kids to actually go to bed before I drop off from exhaustion myself.
It feels too hot to do anything outside, so we wind up watching more TV in the air conditioning than I’m happy with. The dishes pile up faster than they do during the school year, and the occasional fat, buzzing fly just adds to the general feeling of disorder. It’s worse for me this summer than most because of my dad and my book project, but this isn’t the first time I’ve faced a little midsummer meltdown.
Can you relate? Let’s reboot! We still have about a third of summer break left, and it’s not too late to get back on track. Here’s what I’m going to do:
1. Get up early.
Maybe you’ve been here. It’s summer break, so you let the kids go to bed an hour later than usual and sleep in, too. Next thing you know you’re sleeping in with them. Pretty soon they’re getting up before you and whining outside your bedroom door for breakfast as you beg for just ten more minutes.
No? Okay, maybe I’m the only one. The point is that as much as I know one of my keys to happiness is a predictable, early-ish bedtime and a reasonable rising hour, it’s one of those things that’s only too easy to lose control over during the muggy, fuzzy days of midsummer.
So this morning I forced myself to get up at 7 AM to break the cycle. I’m sitting here at my dining-room table, awake long before the kids, drinking my tea with the morning sun streaming in the eastern windows. And I already feel better.
2. Get moving.
Taking long, leisurely walks on a cool morning or evening is one of my favorite summer pastimes. But this year, life got so crazy for a while that it slipped off the to-do list, and then when things got back to normal-ish, I just couldn’t seem to drum up the energy for it.
But walking is one of those things I love to do that makes me feel so good, so skipping my stroll is really just punishing myself.
Maybe you’ve found it hard to get out because of crazy hot and humid weather or just because your life has fallen apart a bit, mid-summer style. That’s OK. Let’s just make a pact to get back up and out there, okay?
3. Lay off the hooch.
On those long summer days, I often look forward an evening glass of Malbec. It tastes so good–and it’s so fun to do something grown-up just for me–that it’s only too easy to have that second (generous) glass.
Nothing wrong with doing that once in a while, but it’s one of those things that can just as easily become a bad habit as retiring to the sofa and scarfing down a bag of chips in front of reality TV every night. And even a small amount of alcohol close to bedtime can screw up your sleep patterns.
I find that the more I limit my consumption, the better I sleep and the more refreshed I feel in the morning. Plus, then having a couple of glasses with dinner every now and then is just that much more special.
For those of us who make a living online, walking away from the computer entirely is not an option. But taking a temporary moratorium from Facebook, Twitter, and obsessively checking my email totally is.
Sometimes I find myself frittering away a lot of time that I could have been spending reading, walking, or going to the beach or park with my kids.
Hey, it happens to everyone, so I’m not going to bother beating myself up about it. But I’m taking this opportunity to take a step back and focus on the things that really matter to me. Because as much as I love my Facebook buddies, I know life’s out of balance when I spend more time with them than my husband.