Saving Some Summer
School has begun. We are already in mid-October. The seasons are changing. The air gets cooler. The trees start changing colour. Clothes get warmer. There’s an excitement in the air.
On the flip side, the days get shorter. Things feel more serious after the lighter, easier summer months. Once again your time may not feel like our own. You slip into the relentless pace of fall. How to pull back and retain some of the ease of summer?
I would say the answer lies partially in setting boundaries and saying no. This is still a work in progress for me. Some people are better at it. For me saying no always comes loaded with the guilt of potentially letting someone down or fear of missing out. I also know I can’t possibly do everything. How do you find ways make choices so you can confidently be selective with your time?
Perhaps the place to start is by looking at your values. What is most important to you at this time? Family? Building a career? Friendships? Alone time? Health and exercise? Are you making time for activities that address these areas? Schedule them in. Set aside time to grow in the areas that are important to you. Make sure to schedule some down time as well – to do whatever you want – or to do nothing. Sometimes this may seem impossible but even small amounts of time can add up – coffee breaks and lunch breaks count!
Some of you may say you aren’t schedule people. If you aren’t feeling like you are taking care of your needs, maybe it is time to give scheduling a try. You don’t need to schedule everything. Just set aside a few times that are for specific activities. The rest of your time can be flexible. When you set aside time you can be assured you will make progress toward your goals of growing in the areas that are important to you. Actually, not just setting aside time, you need to DO something with that time toward meeting your goals.
This may sound like it isn’t relaxed and breezy like summer at all. Fall schedules aren’t relaxed and breezy either so different strategies are required to take care of yourself. You don’t have a long, lazy day to while away at the lake. So capturing that feeling takes a little planning. Setting aside time and taking breaks from your busy schedule will give you times to look forward to in your week. We all need things to look forward to.
Once you have made time for the things that are important to you it makes it easier to arrange the rest of your time. Saying no becomes easier when you have made your priorities clear. Other activities will either fit into your life or they won’t. Pay attention if you are responding to an invitation out of a sense of guilt or responsibility or just because you think you should go. Do you really want to go? Listen to your gut. It is seldom wrong.
Promise yourself you will take time for the things that are important to you. Say no to things that aren’t. Set aside time for enjoying yourself. Regularly. And maybe, just maybe, you can hang onto that feeling of summer throughout the year.