Six Ways I Decompress and Reset During My Michigan Summer

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Angie Charlton, Lower School Faculty

After enduring a year in a pandemic that is now receding, the anticipation of summer has never been stronger. Summer can typically be a time for relaxation and reflection, and this summer, a respite may be more critical than in the past. In this anxiety-ridden year of lives lost, record unemployment, social unrest, and new public policies, there is a new level of appreciation of family, friends, co-workers, and the precious time we have here on Earth.

Although these challenges have made us grow and be better and more efficient at parenting, teaching, technology, and managing our lives, making the most of this summer is a top priority. Before the shutdown last year, I had written a blog on how I decompress and reset during the summer in hopes of encouraging others to try these strategies. In the past, these steps have always helped me start the next school year eager, fresh, and re-charged. However, given the uncertainties in 2020, none of my tried-and-true methods seemed to apply. Now that we appear to be getting back to more normal activities, I hope that these suggestions will help you enjoy the most of these cherished summer months:

Six Ways I Decompress and Reset During My Michigan Summer

  1. Take time away from technology - Set boundaries for yourself, and during breaks set a vacation responder or automatic reply on your emails. Avoid the temptation or urgency to respond. Include in your boundaries time and frequency limits for checking social media accounts.
     
  2. Eat meals outside – Eat at least one meal a day outside, whether on a home patio or at a restaurant. Enjoying the outdoors while eating can be very relaxing, and you may find that you want to eat more than one meal outside each day.
     
  3. Immerse in nature – Besides eating outside, try to take daily walks, hikes with kids/pets, bike rides, and engage in water activities and gardening. I find going barefoot adds to the experience!
     
  4. Try reading new genres - After this year, I have found myself drawn to old, favorite, simple novels, beach reads, books about plants, and the power of nature. I find books
    Girl reading a book outside
    let my mind decompress and center help to energize me the most. If you want to give your eyes a rest, why not try books on Audible or listen to podcasts? Below are some of my favorite authors and podcasts.
     
    • Authors: Paulo Coelho, Marie Kondo, Eckhart Tolle, Glennon Doyle Melton, Jalal ad-Din Muhammed Rumi, and Amber Rae.
       
    • Podcasts: Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations and Master Class, Nothing Much Happens, Miraculous Mamas, The Mind Body Green, and We Can Do Hard Things.
       
  5. Rise early to catch the sunrise – Before the bustle begins in your house, enjoy those quiet moments and the time when nature begins to stir. I am always surprised by how this helps me center myself for the day. What starts as one day a week quickly turns into three to four times a week, even if I could stay in bed. Becoming a “morning person” can be a sacred and unique renewal experience.
     
  6. Find a balance between friends, family, and alone time - Carve out time to be alone and time to connect with those who fulfill your life. Spend time with those who make you laugh, listen with full attention, and make you feel good about yourself.

All of us have our “lessons learned” from the past year; however, one lesson that we all likely share is that it’s essential to take the time to take care of ourselves physically and emotionally.

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