It’s hard enough to fit in self-care during the school year, much less when the kids are home for Summer. So, how do you make time for Summer self-care?
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5 Simple Summer Self-Care Ideas
On one hand, Summer break means longer, more relaxed days. On the other hand, it’s a disruption to our regular routine which can cause stress. So as you adjust to this new daily rhythm, it’s important to know how to take care of yourself this Summer.
How to Take Care of Yourself This Summer
First, let’s talk about what self care is and isn’t.
Self-care has a reputation for being long, leisurely baths, extended time without kids, or expensive luxuries like massages and manicures. Let’s get rid of those ideas right now. While those things can be a part of self-care, they pale in comparison to other, more long-lasting endeavors.
Just say no to entertaining your kids all day, e’ery day. The obvious choice is to sign your kids up for as many VBS’s and camps as you can find. No, I’m just kidding. Those activities are great, but you aren’t responsible for constantly entertaining your kids.
In fact, a little boredom is actually healthy. Research shows that sometimes being bored is exactly what kids need. Letting your child occasionally work through boredom motivates creative problem solving. In fact, in an article for psychology today, Michael Unger, PhD says,
The antidote to boredom is to provide children with an environment that lets them experience autonomy (the ability to work a little on their own), control (the right to have a say over what they do), challenge (a small push beyond their comfort zone), and intrinsic motivation (the motivation comes from inside them).
If not constantly engaging your kids causes some guilt, I can relate. I remember the disappointment I felt in myself as I sat in silence across the table from my daughter. The guys left us to go ride Tower of Terror. This was my chance for some quality mother daughter time. A chance that felt rare since she lived thousands of miles away. (Yes, I’m talking about a grown child. Pitiful, I know.)
I wrestled over the guilt from that day even after we returned home from our trip. After talking it over with my counselor, I realized how hard I was being on myself. That I expected myself to be ‘on’ for my daughter at all times. That I assumed quality time couldn’t come from just sitting together, taking comfort in each other’s presence.
That realization seemed to wake me up to the fact that I’d assumed that responsibility throughout my daughter’s entire childhood. But my family never asked me or expected me to give them all my time and energy, as in every bit of it. So, if you’ve taken on that burden, I’m giving you permission to let it go. (It’s very freeing.)
Let Go of Comparison
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat at a community pool or on the beach comparing my body to the other women there, been envious of friends and family with vacation homes or who can afford to travel to fancy islands or other countries, or felt guilty knowing other people’s kids were enrolled in multiple camps and had a full summer itinerary.
I can tell you that comparison stole my joy.
Once I let go of thinking I was missing out or that those other versions of Summer were the way it’s supposed to be, I was able to make my own fun. And the reality is, there really isn’t a right or wrong way to spend your Summer. As long as you’re spending it on the people, places and pursuits that you value most, that’s what matters.
Organize Your Home for Summer
Summer comes with more laundry, more dirty dishes, more dirt tracked in the house and more toys scattered across the floor. Rather than get overwhelmed, I recommend a little preemptive self-care:
- designate a place to hang wet towels from the pool, waterpark or beach. You can use the hooks where backpacks and jackets go during the school year, hang them on a drying rack in the laundry room, on a clothesline outside, or even lay the towels over the fence to dry.
- corral flip flops. A basket by the door or in the garage will keep them corralled instead of scattered across the floor.
- create an outdoor toy zone in your garage for balls, bikes, riding toys, sidewalk chalk, bubbles, etc. The best space for this zone is close to the garage door for easy access.
- set up a self-serve area in the pantry for the kids. Include mom-approved foods, and set them within reach. With some modeling (training), this system should be self-sustaining. I’d even suggest letting the kids help set it up. This gives them a sense of ownership in the system and a feeling of belonging in the household. It also gives you a break from being on kitchen duty all. day. long. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
- establish an evening reset routine at the end of the day. This includes everyone pitching in to gather pool towels, toss shoes in baskets, put toys back where they belong, clear the kitchen table and just generally pick up from the day. Doing this keeps the clutter from getting overwhelming and gives everyone a fresh start the next day.
Simplify Your Daily Routine
With everyone home, it will be harder to maintain your usual routine. Besides, Summer is an invitation to slow and simple living. Lean into this simpler pace by:
- keeping meals simple with seasonal fruit, make ahead salads and sandwiches.
- allowing for chill days. You know the ones; you wake up whenever because you don’t have anywhere to be and just let the day unfold.
- following a simple summer capsule wardrobe so you throw on a comfortable outfit without having to give any thought to what you’re going to wear
- simplifying your makeup routine, if you wear makeup at all
- giving yourself permission to play
Create a Summer Self-Care Bucket List
Keeping in mind that self-care is anything that nurtures your soul and fills your cup, write a bucket list of activities you would enjoy. My list of summer self-care activities includes:
- permission to just sit and read for hours
- going stargazing
- visiting the aquarium downtown
- many day trips to the beach, and a week long stay would be even better
- rocking on the front porch as many nights as possible
- go swimming often
- attend at least one concert in the park
Then, schedule time on your calendar to pick something off your list.
Letting your kids see you do for yourself, whether that’s enjoying a hobby, spending time with friends, or taking a little time to relax provides your family with a more well-rounded, realistic view of not just motherhood, but personhood.
Get Your Summer Glow Up On
Anything that makes you feel confident and beautiful, inside or out, counts.
- Summer is the perfect time to try a new hairstyle or color. I worked up the nerve to try red highlights a couple of summers ago. Seeing my reflection in the mirror took me back to my youth when the sun would bring out the naturally red highlights in my hair. I felt like me.
- Summer is also a good time to experiment with fashion and hone in on our style. One Summer, I decided I was sick of wearing one piece swimsuits. Having tight fitting material against my skin is uncomfortable and makes me more self-conscious. So I ditched my old one piece for a couple of cute two piece suits that are comfortable and better reflect my style. I’m also creating personal outfit formulas that guarantee no matter what I wear, I’ll look and feel fashionable.
- Take advantage of the more relaxed mornings of Summer to check in with yourself before you even get out of bed. Notice how your body feels, what emotions you’re experiencing, the thoughts that are going through your mind, and think about how you can meet those needs during the day.
- Try journaling. You can free write in the morning to clear your mind or write down what your grateful for at the end of the day. Or you can try art journaling. Whatever method you choose, journaling is a great way to lift your mood, provide clarity and nurture your soul.
- Start the day with sunshine. There’s something so grounding about connecting with nature, especially the warmth of the sun, early in the day. For me it’s a reminder of where my help comes from. But, basking in the sun early in the day also helps reset your circadian rhythm, giving you a better night’s sleep.
- Spend time with your people. There’s nothing like the connection and community of fellowship to remind us we’re loved and supported and that we belong.
- Get creative. Creativity, in my opinion, is any outlet that is a natural, organize form of self expression. If you love to cook, try new recipes. If you’ve always been interested in photography, try an iPhone photography class or learn how to use your DSLR. Maybe this is the year you take up travel journaling.
When practiced intentionally, self-care will replenish, restore and renew your soul, one act at a time. Those acts will have a cumulative effect that will leave you feeling rejuvenated and refreshed this Summer.
Wishing you an amazing Summer!