Remember when we were kids? Back then, for me at least, summer was a highlight of the year. No school, no big responsibilities—I had all the free time in the world.
For most working adults, summer is just the time of year when you hope the air conditioner in your car keeps working. It no longer has that sense of magic and opportunity, because it’s just another part of the routines we so often find ourselves stuck in. But it can also be a great time of year to break routines and try new ways of living.
First off, if you can, take a real vacation during the summer! I can’t tell you the number of people I know who have plenty of vacation days saved up at work, but don’t use them. We tend to tell ourselves that there’s so much work to be done, or that our co-workers need us, or that our bosses count on us.
All of that might be true, but so what? Ask yourself—do you really want your life to be about being the best worker you can be?
Taking time off for ourselves is so important. Not only for the obvious reasons—we get to relax, recharge and rest—but for the ones we don’t always think about. Time away from our regular routines means we get to see life from a new perspective, which can often open up new avenues for us; new ideas on how we want to live our own lives. We can certainly go back to our old pattern of living and keep doing it, but we don’t have to, and that’s important to see.
Now, ideally, we do this on a beach somewhere, or in some charming European city, or wherever you’d like to go on vacation. But, practically, we can’t always afford this, or we’re busy raising kids or taking care of sick family members or we’re working a job where we really can’t get away. Take heart! We can set time aside every day—20, 30, 60 minutes—to have a vacation wherever we are.
What I mean is take some time to do something that breaks your regular routine. This can be anything from a spontaneous trip to the movies to half an hour of meditation to my old favorite, going for a hike. The point is to do something nourishing for yourself. It doesn’t have to cost money (indeed, the best self-care rarely does), and it doesn’t even have to take a lot of time, but what it should do is give you a change from how you spend the rest of your day.
My advice? Give yourself a break!