Summer is almost here and of course, all you can think about right now is the sweet release of summer break. But besides the vacations, the getaways, the beach, and all the things that summer entails, one thing we forget to really do is give ourselves a key word in that phrase: break.
Mentally, physically, emotionally. All the other seasons seem to run us down so much more than the rest for a multitude of reasons, and so I've decided to accumulate a list of ways to really give yourself a true summer break.
1. Take a long bath.
Hey, I'm one of the first guys to jump on the bath bandwagon. There's something truly uplifting about being able to de-stress in the calm serene of your tub with legs kicked up. Not only does a hot bath relax the muscles, it also feels wonderful to the skin (yes, even if you wind up sitting in dirty water when all is said and done). I think we can all agree that the physical effects are also good for your mental well-being. When in doubt, break the rubber ducks out!
2. Sleep a little longer.
I know we don't really get enough of this between school and work, especially if you're a parent attempting to get a little more shut-eye. But honestly, a little extra sleep does the body so much good and gives you great opportunity to recharge the batteries at the end of a super long week. I know that on days where I do three twelves in a row, I literally forego giving my better half a kiss to snuggle the pillow and go comatose for about ten hours... Sorry, babe.
3. Get a massage.
No matter what anyone says, deep tissue massages are the key to unlocking some serious aches and pains, taking away stress, and enough to force some of us into REM sleep. There's nothing like knots getting loosened and muscles expanding. Nothing like that feeling you get, getting up to stretch and for the first time in months, there's not a pain to be found. Feeling a little bit more limber, rejuvenated, and serene is the best way to be the day before a big summer trip!
4. Take a day off from exercising.
I know that this sounds like a cardinal sin, and it very well might be. But there are some days where you are allowed to give yourself a break. For heaven's sake, we are so obsessed with making sure we fit in our swim shorts and bikinis that we get careless about how hard we're pushing ourselves. Your quads need time, your pecs are perfect, and yes, your glutes will not sag taking a day off here and there. Breathe in, breathe out, and be a couch potato.
5. Take a break from alcohol.
Again, I know. Crazy, right? Summer, the prime time for margaritas, mojitos, and bay breezes. But maybe just a few weeks can go without a wine night or a night out at the bar. You can have fun without chemical alteration. You can party and be good without some vodka in your system. Besides, life should be enjoyed and remembered. Memories are usually wiped from the hard drive with tequila. Be kind to your liver and to your mind this summer. Take a few days off.
1. Indulge in some guilty pleasures.
This can be anything you like. Whether it's listening to that music no one knows you love loud and proud or going shopping and buying those pants everyone else thinks are ridiculous or even put on a pair of Crocs. That latte that makes you sound just a tad bit basic? Drink it like it's your job. Give yourself the little satisfactions and turn your whole day around with just a bit of saying "yes" to your little whims.
2. Immerse yourself in nature.
Nothing is more peaceful to the mind than the serene sounds of nature in it's purest form. The forest, the creatures, the rivers, the sights, the sounds, the sheer beauty of it all. Give yourself a workout while giving your mind some rest, give yourself the true experience of the wild while building your positive mindset back up. There is nothing better than the automatic reset button that the outside world can present. Mother Nature gives it to us in all the best doses.
3. Practice deep breathing techniques.
For anyone who experiences anxiety or is constantly under stress, this one is for you. The summer is a time to pull yourself from the constraints of your day to day life (within reason), and you shouldn't force yourself through the day without giving your mental space some time to unwind. So research some deep breathing techniques, find something that works specifically for you, and use them daily. It's so important to keep your mental health in top shape.
4. Free your creative flow.
Whether you like to dance, write, sing, or whatever else, get those ideas out of your head and down on paper, captured on video, recorded on audio. You want to put yourself into the world, express who you really are, give the world a reason to remember your name. And nothing is more freeing for your mind than letting it go freely with all of it's wondrous and innovative ways. Besides, last minute creativity on a napkin created "Harry Potter." Maybe you'll come up with something equally as magical.
5. Take a day off from negative people.
There are some people who are literally just exhausting to be around. You can be an ear any day of the week, not every day in a row. And some days, even your batteries need to be recharged. I'm not saying delete these negative people permanently, as some of the people we love can be negative, but I am saying you are not required to be their 24/7 saving grace. Your "you time" is important.
1. Forget regrets.
Honestly, you should be putting all of your accomplishments first in your brain. Otherwise, nothing is going to look like a gold medal. You have done immaculate things this year, you have accomplished so much and yet if you don't look at all the milestones, everything will be dredged in clouds. And that is not fair to you or to the things you have done.
2. Take away the labels.
Whenever you catch yourself being a judge-y goober, you just tell yourself to put a pause on that. Who needs labels? Who needs to be defined? All of those things affect us emotionally, why would we want to put that on anyone else? Give yourself one day where labels are taken away, where you just put them on the back burner for a little while. Lord knows that we could all use one day without them.
3. Delete the word "should."
I should go on vacation. I should go out tonight. I should sit in front of a bonfire. I should ask them out. Five seconds to change should to will can change everything. You never know what opportunities are waiting at the end of should, you should just do. Take the chances, make the risks, and give yourself the chance to succeed or fail. It's a lesson either way.
4. Cry, cry, cry.
This one might be tough for the boys to do, but really, a good cry can fix a lot of things and release a lot of emotional back up you've been holding in like a vault carrying a precious secret. There's nothing more freeing than letting out all the anger or pain or sadness you've had backed up liked a bad clog, and there's nothing wrong with doing it. Crying is a natural human ability and there's a reason it's given to us. We need it. We need to let go and open up.
5. Check your feelings and learn.
It's hard to really identify all of the things we go through in a day, and sometimes we tend to get so caught up in everything that we're feeling. Learning to identify those feelings and get them under control before we get too invested and lose ourselves is so important for more than just the summer, but there's no better place to start.
With all of these things combined, I hope you find the time to give yourself the best break you've ever had this summer and that you do things that give you more peace than any vacation ever could.
Remember, love yourself, be kind to yourself. And the rest will sort itself out.