Sweet, sweet summertime is here! It is my favorite non-holiday time of the year for so many reasons — a slower change of pace, longer days, vacations and an abundance of fun activities to do throughout the season.
In recent years, I have found it to be busier than ever — in other words, the exact opposite of a recharge and refresh.
Too much pressure to plan the perfect vacation, too many events to try to schedule, all combined with the pressures of maintaining your home during the hot season can combine to make it less than magical.
Sound familiar?
This summer, take charge of the season and use these simple living tips to make this season more of a summer breeze than a hot seasonal mess.
Slow it Down: Think about your fondest childhood memories of summer.
Are they full of activities and elaborate vacations — or do you remember simpler things like eating popsicles, swimming and chasing lightning bugs?
Several summers ago — the first summer I was able to stay home with my young children — I swore to do something fun and memorable every single day.
It … was … exhausting.
I had run out of ideas (and extra cash) by mid-July and my kids had the expectation that every day, I would have something to entertain them.
As much as I loved being with them, I was tired, they were still bored — and I failed to teach them a fundamental childhood lesson: The fabulous ability to find something to do when there is nowhere else to be!
In a nutshell, having a slow summer means taking activities off the schedule.
If you plan to go swimming every Saturday, that’s great — but let the timing of your arrival ebb and flow around what works for your family.
If that means allowing your kids to sleep through breakfast or read a book instead of hitting the park that day — so be it.
If you aren’t relying on them for child care, cut out a few of the kid camps and let your kids fill their own day.
Give them some cardboard, coloring books, a new Lego set — and let them be!
The change to be innovative — and unscheduled — will prompt lots of new fun memories!
In a kid-free house? Try to give yourself a break from the same — order grocery delivery and use that time to read a book or begin a new exercise routine.
Social Media Siesta: I love my social media — the first thing I do when I wake up and go to bed is check my Facebook and Instagram to see what everyone is up to.
I love to share family photos and funny memes — and enjoy being able to chronicle every fun moment of every family vacation.
When I put my social media on the backburner, I found that time seemed to go by a little slower.
Rather than trying to capture the perfect moment to chronicle for later, I was so much more in the moment to begin with.
This summer, put down your iPad or smartphone and use that time to sit on the porch and watch the kids at play or bird watch.
You won’t miss the scrolling and will find the activity to be relaxing beyond measure.
If you are not ready to ice your social media time completely, set some summer limits — for example, only logging in at the end of the day — and see what that does to your mood!
I suspect you will find a serenity that you did not even realize you were missing!
Beat the Heat, Stay out of the Kitchen! Summer time comes with longer days and more outdoor activities — and most of us don’t want to spend those longer days in the kitchen.
With hot temperatures, the last place you want to be is in a hot kitchen, cooking a hot meal.
This season is a great time to test out some new no-cook recipes — or try some meal preparation strategies that will save you from cooking all week.
Google “no-cook recipes” to see what awesome recipes appeal to you and consider cooking about an hour a week (I usually save Sunday evening) to prep lots of cold salads and grilled meats for my family to eat all week.
Imagine how nice it will be to come home from work on a Thursday and already have dinner ready to take out of the refrigerator to serve? I promise that hour of meal prep will be worth it — and it is much easier to do with cold summer sides!
Regardless of who you are spending your summer with, take some time this season to relax, unplug and unscheduled.
I promise the refreshment will be as good as the best glass of homemade iced tea!
(Editor’s Note: Kristine George is a freelance journalist who resides in Easton.)