Avoid Summer Burnout (And Get More Good Stuff In)

Relaxing beach scene

Being a Summer baby, this is one of my favourite seasons.  But how can we avoid Summer burnout?

You see, I’m also one of those people who gets ill on holiday.  Was the same when I was at school too.  Fine all year, then as soon as I have time off, it hits me.

Summer months tend to be busier, as we enjoy getting out and about more, and want to make the most of our downtime.

But it can mean working extra hard in the run up to those precious weeks of annual leave, so how can we avoid hitting the metaphorical wall, and enjoy more of the good bits of Summer?

Planning Is Everything

Sounds an obvious one, but if you usually leave all the household tasks and life admin to the weekends, changing up your routine can help free up your free time.  Can you use your lunch break or weeknights instead, to avoid the Sunday night panic of trying to find clean clothes after a busy weekend.

Don’t Set Yourself Unrealistic Ambitions

If the weekend or holiday itinerary looks jam packed, remember you don’t need to fit in all the things at once.  If you need some chillax time, factor that in.  Often it takes the first few days of a holiday to feel the tension leave our bodies, so try not to overwhelm yourself.

Time off is time off. Period.

Be as precious with your time off as you are with your to-do list.  If you’re planning to spend some time with your loved ones, give it your full attention.  There’s nothing worse than being there in person, when your head is somewhere else.  You won’t enjoy it, and people around you can pick up on that energy too.  Switch the phone off.  Block out the time in your calendar.  Be present.

If You Don’t Want To Go, Say No (…but thanks for the invite!)

Its lovely to spend time socialising and catching up with people,  but you don’t have to accept every invite.  If you’ve had more BBQs than early nights recently, then it’s ok to take a time out and recharge.  Burning the candle at both ends can leave you feeling grotty, fuzzy headed and low in motivation, not to mention the overindulging!  Enjoy the events that you do go to, but don’t put too much pressure on yourself to attend everything, if its impacting day to day.

So there you go, some quick ideas of how to add more of the good in to the Summer and avoid burnout.

Enjoy the rest, I think we’ve all deserved it this year!

Photo credit :  Yoori Koo via Unsplash.com

How Happy Are We Really?

How happy are we really?  And, how happy are we meant to be?

There’s a lot of talk about finding our joy, or happiness, just now.  We’re told to look for the good in the every day.  We must seek it out, in case we forget what it looks like.  Or in case we forget how to find it.

Which in itself can just add even more pressure.  Am I happy enough?  Am I meant to be this ludicrously smiley person all the time, and never get upset, scared or lonely?  And if I’m not happy, will people think I’m miserable, and does that make me a bad person?

The truth is, none of us can be happy all the time.  Of course we can’t.  But that doesn’t mean we should put up with situations that are making us unhappy.  Nor should we feel that we’ve got to settle.

What’s happy for you, isn’t for me

And it’s also good to remember that what happiness looks like to me, will be different for you. Our happiness thresholds aren’t set in stone either, and what made us happy yesterday, can bring up very different emotions today. Because it’s all about context.

Some of the simplest pleasures in life can make us the happiest we’ve ever been.  Finding something that you thought was lost.  Mastering something for yourself without having to rely on anyone else.

Waking up next to someone gently snoozing on the pillow next to yours can either be one of the best feelings, or the loneliest, for example.  I’ve known both sides, with the same person.  Again, it depends on context.  There’s no one state or another that is the right fit for everyone. And what’s right for us today, may not be tomorrow.

And it’s not just the small things.  Even the biggest achievements or successes can leave us feeling deflated.  Years of effort and hard work, and yet we don’t feel any different or better for it.

Working towards something, assuming that it will bring us automatic happiness, is a sure way to cultivate more of the unhappiness.

But by being aware of what makes us truly happy – big thing or small – we can start to follow it, and seek it out.

We need to create our own definition of joy. No one can explain it to us, or tell us what we need to do.

So yes, go find your joy.  But do it just for you, no one else,

Photo credit:  Simon Maage via Unsplash.com

Am I Living My Best Life?

Living my best life.  It’s become the antithesis of having a good time, right?

That’s usually the sort of thing we say when we’re doing anything but living our best life.  Usually on a bad day. Or even worse, a mediocre one!

But are we at risk of standing in our own way sometimes?  When do we encourage ourselves to have the best that we can have, or are we always waiting for something else?

We’ve all been guilty of that at times. I’ll be happier when I’ve lost weight, got a new job, achieved x/y/z…

We put constraints or conditions on our happiness by thinking we need to ‘earn’ it.  We need to earn time off, we need to earn indulging in a little shopping spree.  How often do we leave our ‘best’ clothes in the wardrobe and wear the same old things.  Or wear out old boots until the sole is hanging off (especially guilty of that one!!).

I’m not going to go down the obvious line of ‘life’s too short’, but it really is.  It’s true.

What are we waiting for?

If we’re always waiting for something to be different before we allow ourselves a bit of happiness, we could be waiting a long time.

And what messages are we giving ourselves? I’m not worth it. I don’t deserve it.

If you can imagine the advice you’d give to a friend who was saying these things about themselves, what would you say? Buy the damn dress. Go on the damn date. Life’s too short?!

Thought so.  Go give yourself permission to live your best life too.

Photo credit:  Austin Schmid via Unsplash.com

What Makes You Happy?

Happy little boy laughing

When was the last time you were as happy as this little guy?  Like, TRULY happy?

Children have some obvious advantages over us stressed-out adults…

They can find the simplest things hilarious.  They haven’t got the fear of laughing at themselves (or us!).   And they have a brilliant ability to be completely in the moment, without worry about tomorrow, or next week, or ‘am I good enough?’

As we get older, we lose connection with the things that made us happy as children. Life takes over, and we see ‘play time’ as an indulgence. Something we probably only get to experience on our holidays. If we’re lucky.

Time to reconnect

But what if we could make more time to allow those things that brought us joy?

Is this something you intentionally plan for in your week? If I’m honest, I haven’t planned in fun stuff for a while.  It’s the once in a while, a luxury or a treat.

And mixing the ‘working from home/living at work’ scenario of the last year, mean that the kitchen table now probably looks more like an office, rather than a home for messy play.

Making time for joyous activities should be as much of a priority though.  It allows us to reconnect with ourselves and wind down our body and our mind.   It bolsters our connections with others when we participate in things together.  The act of carving out time itself for fun stuff, means that we see ourselves as important, and not just here to run the treadmill of necessary tasks.

Design Your Summer

If there’s one thing you could take away, think about what you want to remember about this Summer.  Do you want to remember get togethers, days out in the sun, or lounging with a good book?  Do you want to look back in the Autumn with fond memories of happy, sunny (or rainy!) days?

We get to design our lives how we want them, in general.  Yes, we have obligations and priorities.  But we all have free time. And how we choose to use it, is up to us.

Enjoy the sunshine whilst it’s here.  And create memories for when it goes.

Photo credit:  Ben White via Unsplash.com