June 29, 2016
Chloe Chow, B.Sc., Psychosocial Consultant

If you’re anything like the rest of us, you’ve been relishing in the recent summer heat. Every spring, people can be seen smiling more often. Of course, this is partially due to the fact that faces are more visible in general (since they aren’t hidden behind mounds of scarf), but nevertheless – there is something to be said about the rise in spirit come the end of winter. Too often though, we find ourselves at the tail end of summer both perplexed as to how quickly it flew by and suddenly conscious of the fact that we haven’t accomplished half of what we had hoped to. Here are six ways to avoid this post-summer dissonance and reach your summer’s full potential!

  1. Plan

It’s very easy to get caught up in the day-to-day activities of your current life situation, and before you know it, back-to-school ads are playing on the radio and stores are stocked with their fall collection. The best way to make the most of your summer is to be intentional. Ask yourself if there are specific things that you’d like to do, try or accomplish this summer. Make a list, pull out a calendar and figure out what you’d like to do and when you’d like to do it. Do you need to book vacation days? Do you need to buy tickets? Don’t wait until you’re less busy to find time to plan. Do it now.

  1. Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin

Some of us have the tendency to get overly excited when the warm weather rolls around and fill our plate with more activities than we can handle. Don’t overbook yourself – think of how quickly a busy week passes by. If you want to feel like you’ve enjoyed a full summer season, the key is to commit yourself to a few activities that you enjoy and make sure that you leave some days open for the unexpected. The summer is intended to be a rejuvenating season – you want to approach winter tanned – but not burnt out.

  1. Try Something New

If you want this summer to be a memorable one, try something new. Our brains have a way of blending together memories that are similar.The ones that stick out are the novel experiences. You don’t have to travel to a foreign country to achieve novelty. Pick a restaurant in a neighbourhood you aren’t familiar with and explore a new part of town. Take a spanish class. Take a tennis lesson. If you don’t enjoy them, or aren’t good at them, that’s okay. A good experience doesn’t have to be a successful one. It will just be another story to add to your life’s book.

  1. Say Yes

This adds on to the try something new point. You might not even be conscious of how often you say no. Once again, creatures of habit that we are, we tend to turn down the unexpected. We get cemented in our ways over time due to comfort in familiarity and our aversion to change. However, every time you say no to something or someone – you may be missing out on opportunity.  The next time someone asks you to do something – pause before you say no. Are you saying no out of volition or out of habit? Make this your Summer of Yes.

  1. Spend Time Outdoors

And do it as much as you possibly can. Walk or bike instead of drive. Read a book in the park instead of watching Netflix in your basement. Netflix will be waiting for you in the fall- it’s time to get your Vitamin D. Studies have shown that spending time outdoors increases overall well-being as well as increases people’s sense of feeling alive. The next time you feel sluggish, go for a walk. Plan hikes, spend time in nature, connect with the earth. There’s something about fresh air that jogs the mind, allowing our thoughts to become unstuck and leaving us feeling rejuvenated.

  1. Stay Present

One of the best ways to make summer last longer is to stay grounded in the now. Quite often, August brings with it a panicky sense of “Winter is coming!” It’s similar to Sunday Syndrome – a phenomenon where you aren’t able to enjoy Sunday because you feel Monday breathing down the back of your neck. To avoid colouring your late summer experience with dread, stay present with yourself. Pull yourself into the now and don’t preoccupy your mind with the future. Meditate once a day even if for just ten minutes. Feel the depth of every moment and appreciate it. Adopting an attitude of gratitude will place you in the proper mindset for reaching your summer’s potential.