Summer is here and while the warm weather and longer hours of daylight can revive and rejuvenate your spirits, you can often get lost in the enjoyment of the beautiful days to the point that your daily tasks become neglected. Summer has a tendency to become unstructured while life has a tendency to keep moving forward at the same pace that it always has. You can easily get lost in this lack of structure and find yourself overwhelmed with a list of incomplete tasks that need doing. If this happens and the responsibilities of life begin to pile up on you, unnecessary stress can be the result. As you know, stress does terrible things to your body. In an effort to keep stress at a minimum so you can enjoy your summer days without losing focus on living, here are four tips that will help you deal with the unstructured days of summer.
1. Create a Flexible Routine
First and foremost, create a flexible routine. Structure and routine are so important for keeping on track and accomplishing all of your daily goals. But remaining flexible rather than stringent in your routine will help keep stress at a minimum. For example, if you set a routine with a timeline, but you do not accomplish your tasks on that timeline, do not fret. Just take it in stride and change the timeline a bit. Shift things around and if certain tasks have to wait until tomorrow, then so be it. Create a routine to use as a guideline rather than a strict system that must be followed to a tee. Allow yourself to move and change things around and you will find it much easier to complete your tasks without feeling the stress of a rigid timeline.
2. Spend Time Outside
Now is the time to get outdoors while the weather is warm and the sun is shining. If you already have outdoor activities that you enjoy, schedule time for them into your routine. Either daily or weekly depending on the activity. Maybe you like to garden or participate in sports or perhaps you enjoy more sedentary activities like reading or drawing or knitting. Even the sedentary activities can be done outdoors. If you spend a lot of time working on a computer, take it outside, breathe in the fresh air and absorb the sun’s rays while you work.
3. Exercise and Engage
We all know the extraordinary benefits of exercise. And now that the weather is warm, this is the time to actively engage in outdoor activities. Physical activity for about an hour each day will keep your body healthy and your mind motivated. Walking, running, hiking, swimming, biking, kayaking...there is a limitless variety of outdoor activities to implement into your summer schedule that will keep you active and engaged in the business of living. Visiting local attractions, like a zoo, a natural hiking trail, or a festival, will get you outdoors and exercising while also providing you with summer entertainment. Most cities and towns host all sorts of summer events that will not only keep you physically active, but will also connect you with your local community. Check social media channels and local community events calendars for upcoming activities.
4. Delay Gratification
To keep yourself on track with your daily obligations while still being able to enjoy the wonderful days of summer, make your to-do list with delayed gratification in mind. What this means: the top of your list should include the necessary and sometimes undesirable tasks that must be completed each day...work, household chores, appointments, etc. Get these things done first knowing that the reward upon completion is enjoying the fun stuff. If you have to make appointments during the summer months, try to schedule them in the morning so they are not hovering over you all day. Once you have completed all of the necessary tasks for the day, you can reward yourself with relaxation and enjoying what remaining hours are left in the day. If you attempt to engage in the enjoyment first, there is no motivation to get to the things that need to be done. So delay that gratification and reward yourself later for accomplishing all of the day’s task.
Most importantly, remember that life is short and self-care is essential to living your best life. Find what works best for you and make the time to nurture yourself. You will be more productive and efficient in the long run.