Relax, Refresh, Replenish: 30 Ways to Recharge This Summer
By Sally Meadows
This has been a really productive year for me as I count down to the release of my two newest books. Accomplishing my goals has only been possible through clearly defining the steps I need to take, and being disciplined enough to follow through.
As exciting as this season is, I have felt the weight of stress sneaking up on me over the past few weeks.
So with the warm days of summer stretching out before me, I am preparing to let loose and let go so I can recover a more balanced life and, at the same time, recharge my batteries. Because if I don’t—like you—I will blink and the even busier fall season will be here.
Here are 30 ideas for recharging our bodies and creative souls this summer.
1. Take time to sit in quiet and solitude, in whatever place brings you peace. Empty your mind. Commune with God. Consider having a journal at hand to write down what God speaks to you.
2. Pamper yourself. Go to a day spa, have a back or foot massage, try a float tank or mineral spa, or give yourself the simple gift of a no-holds-barred, candle-lit tub soak with a glass of sparkling wine and some soothing music. Do this once a week, all summer long.
3. Watch a gut-busting, out-loud-laughing comedy. Whether you make it a night out with the girls in VIP movie theatre seats or curl up with your significant other at home, laughter releases those feel-good endorphins that are necessary for a healthy body and soul.
4. Paint nights and other crafting workshops are popping up everywhere. Whether you book an evening to learn how to knit at your local Michael’s Arts and Crafts store, or attend a craft night experimenting with alcohol inks, explore your creativity in ways that are new to you.
5. Take a hike. Not your mundane daily walk, but a sweat-inducing, heart-pounding, mind-broadening challenge in a new-to-you nature setting. A healthy hike heightens your senses, reduces your stress, and releases more of those glorious endorphins.
6. Play like a kid. Buy, make, or borrow some play dough or clay and revel in feeling the textures as you create. Finger paint, make homemade bubbles (best recipes call for dish soap + glycerine), create friendship bracelets, or draw with chalk. Whatever you choose, approach it with a childlike heart.
7. Volunteer. Whether working backstage at a summer music festival, grooming dogs at your local animal shelter, or making crafts at your church’s summer kids’ camp, doing something for others gives us sense of purpose beyond ourselves that is essential for our well being.
8. Try a change of scenery. If you work from your home, pack up your computer and spend a few hours at your local library, a museum conservatory, or a boutique coffee shop. Conversely, if you are always out, set up office in your backyard; even better, by a lake.
9. Explore a new culture. Whether chatting with locals at a specialty grocery store, trying out a new restaurant with authentic ethnic food, or visiting your city’s annual cultural fair, revel in the uniqueness of a whole other world.
10. Give yourself permission to spend an afternoon or two exploring Pinterest, Etsy, home decorating blogs, or whatever your passion is, to your heart’s content.
11. Try out some new recipes. Or even better, make one up. Experiment with different kinds of summer drinks, appetizers, or desserts.
12. Commit to 20 minutes of freeform journaling every day for a month.
13. If you write only prose, try writing poetry. Or immerse yourself in reading the classics—Browning, anyone?
14. Get up before dawn, head out of town, bring along a lawn chair, and watch the sunrise. Or, have a late supper on a rooftop restaurant and watch the sun set.
15. Travel to somewhere you’ve never been before. Or, go on a vacation that is unlike any one you’ve ever done before.
16. Can’t travel this summer? Indulge in a weekend-long stay-cation. Play catch with your kids. Take a boat tour. Enjoy a water park or outdoor swimming pool. Go to a summer fair. Visit a farmer’s market. Explore the uniqueness of right where you live!
17. Get green and get dirty. Plant flowers, make a container garden, start an herb garden on your windowsill—even and especially if you think you don’t have a green thumb. Take a flower arranging class or a workshop on how to make a terrarium. The point is to get intimate with nature’s bounty.
18. Make a gratitude list.
19. Clean, organize, and declutter your home. You will be amazed at how much it will clear your mind.
20. Get unplugged. Take a sabbatical from your computer, your phone, and/or your TV for a day, a weekend, a week, or longer. Re-connect with your family and friends—minus the devices.
21. Explore nature with all your senses. Watch the ducks at a pond. Sit in your backyard, close your eyes, and just listen. Walk through a forest and feel the soothing coolness on your skin. Study an ant. Savour the smells of a flower garden. Pick fresh berries and sample them. Write down what you see/feel/hear/smell/taste/experience.
22. Explore shops that you’ve never been to before. Try antiques, retro/vintage clothing shops, local handicrafts, or other specialty shops you would never normally visit—Joke shop? Gourmet food? British imports? Motorcycles? Millinery shop?
23. Make an inspiration board. (Not sure what this is? Google it.)
24. Think about what defined summer for you as a child. Then go out and indulge. (Drive-in theatre? Picnic in the park? Swimming in a lake? Homemade banana splits? Hula-hooping?)
25. Spend an afternoon at a museum, art gallery, zoo, or other tourist attraction that takes you away from your everyday life and feeds your soul. Don’t forget to check out their gift shops—you’ll find a plethora of unique items that can extend your creativity when you get home.
26. Commit to getting a good night’s sleep all summer long. Indulge in the art of napping on weekends. If not now, when?
27. Treat yourself to a full day of lounging around reading your guilty pleasure book.
28. Strip down and repaint that piece of furniture you’ve been longing to make over.
29. Grab your camera or cell phone and go on a photo safari. Take pictures of your everyday life, your neighbourhood, your favourite people, eveningwear you like, cute puppies, or whatever it is you love. Then scrapbook them.
30. Give yourself permission to do nothing but daydream. Write down your dreams, aspirations, and goals. Set your list aside; and then revisit it in the fall.
Sally Meadows is an award-winning author, recording artist, and speaker, and is the Saskatchewan representative of WIMM Canada. Her two new books When Sleeping Birds Fly and The Underdog Duck release July 2018 and September 2018 respectively. Keep up with all of Sally’s news by signing up for her newsletter at SallyMeadows.com. You can also connect with Sally at Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.