As the school year is quickly approaching, I want to share some encouraging words to you: summer is still here. And whether you are excited for the school year or not, this can still be encouraging to you. I’ll tell you why.
Summer. We look forward to it all year along. It serves as a visual motivation to get through those long, cold, winter months, and then it’s gone in the blink of an eye. We finally experience the warmer weather and, if we’re lucky, go on vacation, attend barbecues, birthday parties, waterparks, festivals and fairs. Ahh, sweet summer.
And just as quickly as it started, it comes to a screeching halt. The hustle and bustle of back-to-school sales, school supplies in the very front aisle of Target, the annual “Back to School Preparation” emails from the Principal, all come flooding in at once, immediately following Independence Day. Gone are the days of sweet, sweet summer and we dive right into waking up early again, homework, sports, and overwhelmingly busy schedules.
Summer is actuallystill here. School does not start for another few weeks. Yes, the school supplies are necessary. Shopping for new school clothes can be fun and exciting. These things are great, but is also important to stop and also enjoy the slowness and sweetness of summer.
One of the ways we can intentionally enjoy summer is by mentally or verbally acknowledging what you look forward to each day, or your favorite part of each summer day. Instead of saying, “I only have 22 days until school,” reframe and say, “I have 22 days to rest and appreciate my break before school begins again.”
Another way to be mindful and delight in the rest of summer is to make a list of your top three events or items that you would like to complete in these next few weeks. Prioritizing and completing your most enjoyable activities or goals will give you a sense of accomplishment and pride. I often find that being “task-oriented” can be stressful, so these “top three” should feel more fulfilling, and less like ‘work.’
Looking back on a season and being proud of what you’ve accomplished, is a great feeling. Can you think of a time where you felt happy that you took time for yourself, to enjoy the simple things? Can you imagine what your perfect “free day” would consist of? We can get so caught up in the productivity of life’s demands, and often push our mental and emotional needs aside. Being productive mentally and emotionally often requires intentional mindfulness and meeting your personal needs.
Going back to school is exciting and a wonderful time of the year! However, it often brings anxiety for those who have additional factors to consider, whether they are transferring schools, have social anxieties, dislike school, feel overwhelmed about routines and schedules, etc. It is beneficial to be present, to find the calm and peace in every transition, even when the world is telling us to be as productive as possible, in the shortest amount of time possible.
We can teach ourselves to stop and be present in the moment, through each season (and even deeper, in each season of life). That we learn to appreciate the beauty of slowing down, of going slow versus “go, go, go!”
So, I encourage you to slow down. Breathe it in. Humidity and all. Enjoy the rest of sweet, sweet summer.