Book Club: Meagan’s Pick05/23/2013
The Key to a Happy Summer
Being Happy by Meagan Francis
Summer is here! Well, even if it doesn’t begin officially until June 20, as far as I’m concerned, it’s summer as soon as the kids get off that school bus for the last time. And though it seems to stretch out endlessly in front of us right now, you know that like every year, in August we’ll all be saying “Where did those three months go?”
Knowing that summer has a short shelf life can make the season feel a bit frantic: we want to cram in as much fun as possible, after all. But that can lead to burnout by the time the weather really heats up! Here are some of my tips for seizing summer while keeping things low-stress, fun and happy:
- Leave Time For Fun.
It’s tempting to plan out every weekend with camping trips and excursions to the beach. But over-filling your calendar can dampen spontaneity and lead to grumpiness – sometimes you just want to hang around the house, even if it is a beautiful day outside. I try to keep weekdays fairly unplanned, and leave one or two weekends each month free on the calendar. That way if a last-minute invitation comes up, I’m more likely to be able to accept – and I’ll still have plenty of downtime, too.
- Stock Up.
Save yourself multiple runs to the store later: plan one big shopping trip to stock up on the little things that make summer easier and more fun. Your list might include sunscreen and insect spray, charcoal or gas for the grill, paper plates and packaged snacks for impromptu picnics or park dates, and fun outdoor toys and trinkets for those days you have to do a little extra urging to get the kids to play outside (think bubbles, sidewalk chalk, and those soak-em water balls.)
- Stick To A Routine.
One of my favorite things about summer is that it’s a chance to let go of the strict homework-dinner-bedtime grind and enjoy longer, more leisurely evenings. But when I relax our usual schedule too much, it leads to tired, cranky kids who resist bedtime – a recipe for a stressed-out, cranky Mom.
I find that we all do best when we stick to a routine, so I create a relaxed summer version: dinner and bed are slightly later than during the school year, but still happen at about the same time every night. I also try to plan an activity – even if it’s just a walk around the neighborhood or a run to the grocery store - for first thing in the morning to give the day more structure.
Bottom line? Go easy on yourself! Just because you have a list a mile long of things you could do this summer doesn’t mean you have to check every one off. And it’s perfectly fine if some days you’d rather just lie in front of a fan and let the kids watch TV instead of heading out to the zoo or park. Take it day by day, and remember to relax and enjoy yourself – it is summer, after all!
For more happy thoughts from Meagan, visit http://thehappiestmom.com/.
Five Mirrors in My House04/18/2013
Book Club: Meagan’s Pick04/11/2013
A Little Extra Effort At Halloween12/20/2012
The Family That Laughs Together08/16/2012
Book Club: Meagan’s Pick07/05/2012
The Key to a Happy Summer07/05/2012
My Best Bits of Camping Advice06/07/2012
Connecting with my Party of Five05/16/2012