“Then followed that beautiful season… Summer… Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light; and the landscape lay as if new created in all the freshness of childhood.”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Summer is finally here after what was, at least up here in Sweden, a very long and cold winter.
So today I’d like to share 10 small and simple tips that you can use to create a happier summer – and rest of the year – for yourself.
1. Go slow.
You’ll be less stressed and you’ll enjoy all the smells, the sights and people in your summer even more. So slow down a bit and use all your senses to tap into what is happening in this moment around you and inside of you.
2. Say yes to the new.
Go for something new. Expand your comfort zone in a small way. Or a bigger one.
Go somewhere you haven’t been before. Take up a new hobby. Read a book or try eating something or doing something that isn’t what the regular you would do.
Few things add happiness so simply as finding a new thing you enjoy or may even love does.
3. Say no to the shoulds of the summer.
The sneaky shoulds can make a vacation filled with things you “just have to do before the summer is over” seem like draining work and leave you more tired than you were before your time off even started.
So ask yourself: Will this matter in 5 years? Or even 5 months?
Zooming out like this makes it easier to see the real value of doing something. And it makes it easier to simply relax and to say no to doing something because you realize that it isn’t that important anyway.
4. Just do nothing at all.
It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that all time have to be booked up for some activity.
Humans are however not robots and so that often leads to more stress and to little of the recharging that could have helped you to keep doing quality work during the fall and winter being done.
So try doing nothing at all. Just go for a walk in the woods. Sit by a lake or the ocean and take in your world. Lie down on the green grass and look up at the clouds going by.
Focus on just that with all your senses and let your mind and body relax and rejuvenate.
5. Be the summer you want to see.
Don’t wait for someone else to create the summer you want to have. Instead get the ball rolling yourself.
Take action and take the first small steps forward.
Arrange a party or a picnic. Set up a movie night when the summer rain is pouring outside. Take a walk or a run every warm morning to get your energy levels up.
6. Be kind in small ways.
One of the simplest ways to live a happier life is to focus on being kind.
It does rarely take much energy.
Just a simple compliment or lending a listening ear while someone vents can brighten someone’s day.
And it brings happiness to your life too as your see other person’s face light up. And how you think about and behave towards others tends to spread to how you treat yourself too. More kindness towards others leads to more self-kindness.
7. Savor the summer moments right here instead of being lost in the future or past.
There will be moments this summer you won’t want to miss by being somewhere else in your head.
So decide that you will take the time and focus to savor the small moments like a melting ice-cream in the sun but also the bigger ones with the people closest to you.
8. Ask yourself what you can be grateful for so far this year.
The past 5 months may zipped by fast, they sure did for me at least. So the summer vacation can – just like the vacation around New Year’s Eve – be a good time to take a few extra, small pauses and to look back and ask yourself:
What can I be grateful for in my life so far this year?
And don’t forget to express your gratitude to the people in your life.
9. Just accept how you feel instead of pushing it away.
Don’t fall into the trap of pushing how you deep down feel or think away with distractions or forced positive thinking.
Instead, if you have negative feelings or thoughts about something that have popped up again and again so far this year take some time for yourself or with someone close to you to think/talk about it.
Then later on, after you have accepted and processed how you truly feel and think sit down with a pen and paper.
Come up with one small step or a small plan that you can take action on to start moving yourself out the situation that is troubling you and into something better. And take action on that plan with just a first small step forward as soon as you can.
10. Spend more time doing what you love.
Maybe it is reading books. Or fishing. Or painting. Or playing with your kids or hanging out with an old friend.
Also think about how you can fit more of whatever that is into the rest of your year too.
Sit down with a pen and paper and think about what you spend your time on during a normal week. Find one or two things during your regular weeks that you can do less of or simply say no to so that you have a bit more time and energy over each week during the fall and winter for this thing you love.