Changing seasons can be a welcome invitation to change up our lives as well. Summer has landed and with it come shifts in the hours of daylight, traffic patterns and possibly your household schedule and “flow” with kids and vacationing family. We stay up later and see more of our friends; our life schedules may get fuller or less busy depending on what summer brings for you. Often it can be an easy transition with the support of warm sunshine and relaxed visits, but it can also sharply contrast with feeling like you are the only person ”stuck going to work” or who has to get to bed at a reasonable hour when everyone else seems free to do as they please. The time between now and when you are able to go on vacation may also stretch out, minutes may feel like hours as you count down to vacation, or you may feel panicked because you do not have the time you need to leave work in a “good place” while you are away. Summer can be a time of too many hours and not enough; push and pull, fun contrasted with obligations, hurry up and wait for time that evaporates far too quickly (that two-week vacation will be over in a heartbeat).
In part what keeps us from enjoying this natural change in life’s rhythm are our own patterns. It can feel very “heavy” to have to get up in the morning and go to work when your friends aren’t there because they’re away (and you are carrying their workload), or trying to get the kids off to a day-camp at the other end of the city, needing to work late to compensate for the later start. These are disruptions to our usual day and they can wear on us in ways we are not always aware of, until we start snapping at our loved ones or cutting people off as we get on the bus (or with our cars). Then we compound any feelings of guilt by telling ourselves we should be happier and in a good place because it is summer! Summer brings many great things, but there is also a flip side when we are feeling the pinch that comes with change (even temporary change).
So, what to do? Start with self-compassion; if you are feeling lonely and overwhelmed at work because you are minding things for others while they are off, give yourself a little treat. Do something you wouldn’t normally do, like eat your lunch outside or take coffee breaks that indulge in a summer flavour (ice cream or a cold drink, try something new). Even a small change, like making yourself a coffee before you hit the shower in the morning can give you more control in your day and feel quite decadent if it is not something you usually do. Savouring your vacation through anticipation can also be relaxing, as long as you make time to do just that, possibly as you take a more scenic route to work or by setting a picture of your vacation destination as the background to your computer desktop. If you are suffering from summer malaise think up one simple thing you can do to be kind to yourself and make it happen. You will find it gets you through the ups and downs that summer brings, allowing you to support yourself in this short season of change.
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I believe in giving back to others in many tangible ways. When I learn something new, or see something that might help others, I share it using my blog and website. You can always find my latest blog entries here, on Face Book or Linked In.