Every March, I watch the rain (or, like this year, snow) come down and look forward desperately to a day when the sun will shine and I can finally pack away those winter coats. And for those first few glorious warm days in April or May, I really appreciate every sun-soaked moment.
But somehow, those longed-for beautiful days have a funny way of becoming old hat again. It’s amazing how much I can long for summer, and yet not fully appreciate it when it’s here. Next thing you know it’s September, and I’m once again asking where the months went.
I’ve found that being really intentional about enjoying June, July and August have let me make more of those easygoing summer days. Here are some of the ways I’m planning to soak up the season this year:
1) Find small reasons to celebrate.
There aren’t many holidays in the summer, and the lack of school-year structure can start to make everything feel rather monotonous. But you don’t need a national holiday to find something to celebrate. Create your own reason for a party: blueberry-picking season, the first ripe tomato on the vine, or the first night that the fireflies come out in full swing.
2) Eat outside.
Nothing feels as celebratory of summer as eating out in the yard or on the deck. But it doesn’t always have to mean a full-on dinner outside! Share a snack with the kids on the front stoop or take advantage of the coolness of late morning by having Sunday brunch on your patio furniture.
3) Put the gym on pause
During the winter months, going to the gym is just part of the routine. Come summer, I can barely drag myself there. I’ve decided to stop getting down on myself over my gym aversion and accept that, on the most beautiful days of the summer, hitting the elliptical machine just doesn’t sound appealing. This summer I’m planning to go to a yoga class every week just so I don’t fall off the wagon entirely, but otherwise, it’s outdoor exercise (walking, jogging, playing with the kids) for me.
4) Open the windows
Some days I’m just stuck inside. Sick kids, lots of work, or a major cleaning project…none of those things get put on hold for the entire three months of summer. It might sound obvious, but on those days, simply opening the windows can help keep me connected to the season. Plus there’s nothing like a morning breeze in my kitchen to make me feel alive.
5) Do something unusual every week.
Water skiing! Kayaking! A long-distance family bicycle trip! If you don’t plan those out-of-the-ordinary activities, it’s all too easy to get stuck in a rut and miss the opportunity. This summer I’m striving for one unusual (for us) activity every week. It doesn’t have to be something highly unusual like, say, riding a unicycle around the neighborhood, but simply something that appeals to you that you rarely – or never! – do. Maybe that’s camping out in your backyard, going fishing, or something as simple as making homemade popsicles – just make a point to try something new or different on a weekly basis.
6) Put spontaneity on the calendar.
Yes, summer is the perfect time for that spur-of-the-moment sunset walk or camping trip, but you have to make space in your life for spontaneity to happen. Without doing too much planning ahead of time, we try to keep several summer weekends each year open for…well, for whatever strikes our fancy at the time.
7) Grow something.
By nature, I’m the kind of person who likes to keep myself occupied. If you’re like me, it’s not always easy to go outside unless you have…something to do. Growing something – whether it’s a plant in a pot or a full-on vegetable garden – is a perfect way to keep me out in the fresh air while still feeling productive.
How will you make sure to soak up summer vacation fun this year?