The Spirit of Summer

To many, 7 AM on a mostly sunny Monday morning in July means getting ready for work, if you are not already there. Did you have time to eat breakfast? Were you able to read your favorite section in the newspaper: the comics perhaps  or the front page news? Did you speed on the way to the office? Much of our adult lives seem to be bogged down in a constant rush to get from one moment to the next. But what exactly are we rushing toward? Do you remember the summer months as a kid? No school. Great warm weather for playing outside. And if it was too blisteringly hot, jumping into the neighbor’s pool to cool down. This is the true spirit of the summer: leaving your stress behind to rejuvenate and relax. While summertime is not a get-out-of-work-free card, there are a myriad of simple activities that can help us slow down and enjoy. So try to pencil in one of these four ways to relax in the summer heat, or whatever else may help you enjoy the season a little more!

  1. Lemonade. Okay, so you are not eight years old anymore and quite frankly, it’ll probably seem creepy if you put a cardboard sign outside of your house offering a glass of lemonade for 25 cents. But there’s no rule against fixing a pitcher of ice-cold liquid heaven for yourself. Imagine sitting with a cool glass of lemonade, watching the last lazy beams of daylight slowly recede beyond the horizon and feeling the cool stirring of a breeze across your forehead. Simple. Elegant. Relaxing. Lemonade, water or any other non-alcoholic beverage will help keep you hydrated as well as give you a much-needed moment to rejuvenate after work or whatever else the day throws your way.
  2. Get Out and Play! When we were younger, being told to come inside was a punishment. “Ten more minutes! We are finishing the game!” Now, many of us barely take the time to journey outside at all (especially in the heat of the summer). But a few minutes makes all the difference. According to a recent study by Prof. Pretty at the University of Essex, mood and self-esteem increase substantially after only five minutes outside. So go for a bike ride or a swim, go fishing or sailing, or even take your significant other out on a picnic date to the park or local zoo. Any moment you can spare outdoors will boost your spirit for the rest of your day. (Don’t forget the sunscreen!)
  3. Chores? Yuck. That word has inspired disgust for centuries, but it’s time to buckle down and get some things done around the house nonetheless. Can chores possibly be relaxing? Absolutely! It’s time for kids and adults alike to take a new perspective. Start a water war with your loved one while washing the car together. It’s a great way to cool down and have fun while rinsing the winter salt stains off of your vehicle. Need to make dinner for the family? Try baking a new summer pie recipe to serve with a side of mouth-watering ice cream. And don’t forget the yard! Start a garden of flowers or vegetables and watch them bloom and grow over the summer months. It’s very rewarding work, not to mention that it can increase the value of your home and provide fresh vegetables on the dinner table.
  4. Enjoy the Night Life. As night approaches, temperatures drop (even if only a little) and the concern of being sunburned fades. City lights blossom from the darkness and stars wink overhead. Dusk is the perfect time to wind down for the day. If you can find a patch of soft grass and have a minute to escape, lay down and stare up into the stars, pinpointing constellations as they appear. Try to recall elementary school science or high school astronomy if you can, but don’t forget to tap into the younger you who would trace your own patterns in the stars. Make it a family activity by creating names and stories together from the images and characters found. And when it’s dark enough, listen to the crickets and night owls. Sit up and watch the fireflies glow like fairy lights in the distance, or even try to catch a few with the youngsters in your family.

On the next morning you wake up and feel the rush of the day bearing down on you, remember to slow down for a few minutes and capture the spirit of summer. Whether by sitting back with lemonade, biking down a country lane or catching fireflies, being outside and spending more relaxation time with those you love will be sure to boost your mental health!

One Response to “The Spirit of Summer”

  1. Sandra says:

    Capturing the spirit of a child, as an adult, is a habit all grown ups need to adopt. Nice article.

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