I love a good staycation. It doesn’t even have to be a whole day or a week: just a fifteen-minute break eating ice cream in the sun, a quiet night in playing cards, or running home for cover in the warm rain – anything that summons the essence of Summer (big S!) has a special place in my heart.
But it wasn’t always that way.
I can admit now that as I headed into my late 20’s, I let work overtake my life more and more, I started to appreciate the benefits of rest less and less. And as a direct consequence of that, I started to take summer for granted.
A couple of years ago we spent the whole of summer working – the bane of running your own business is that there’s no one there to tell you to stop working. There was always something to do, so we didn’t stop. Day in, day out — no weekends, no vacation, nothing.
And then, straight out of nowhere, it was September.
Suddenly, the feeling of not having had a ‘proper’ summer – not having rested, not enjoying the good weather while it lasted, not stopping for one second – dawned on us. I felt devastated. I cried for a day. I felt like I had wasted all this time, and that the summer activities I love so much – like eating fruit until you’re full, swimming in a pool, having lángos for lunch with garlicky sour cream -, things I long for all year long are now yet another year away from me.
I was burned out and I felt like I lost a huge opportunity to recharge, both mentally and physically.
Yes, work is important, but I realised we really could make more time in our summer days to actually enjoy life, even if we don’t have the time or money for an actual vacation.
So that’s what we did.
We sat down and we started making a list of activities that felt “summery” for us, things we could do without travelling or taking days off work. We now do this every year, and consciously plan to do one or two each week, so even if an actual vacation is far away (or not gonna happen until next year), we still have something to look forward to.
Making sure you refocus on recharging this summer is simple. Think about what makes you say ‘now this means it’s finally summer!’ Is it the first taste of sweet watermelon? Is it starting or ending your day with a great (or fluffy) novel? Sleeping in? Having a picnic on the living room carpet? Painting?
For us, some of our selected things were ingrained in our childhood, like eating corn on the cob, or watching cartoons on Sundays. In these cases, the nostalgia factor is what adds an extra layer of satisfaction to doing them (and some others, we realise when trying them, we simply grew out of – it happens). Other times, they simply express a need for getting out there and doing something that has nothing to do with work.
With that in mind, I urge you to try this method and create your Summer Top 10 List. Then all you have to do is to start looking for opportunities to actually make those list items happen.
I made a free printable for you to make the process easier — click here and I’ll send you the PDF, plus a handful of tips to help you actually come up with your list. Print it out, fill it in and stick it on your wall, fridge, above your bed, workspace, or inside your bathroom door – wherever you see it most and are inspired to actually do the things you’ve written down! :)
You can also make this into a family project: print one for each family member, and then make plans using items from everyone’s list (or, if you’re adventurous, do all of them!). Start with the items that have the most ‘votes’.
Short on ideas? Check out my best staycation tips here.
Now it’s your turn!
What’s the one thing that absolutely has to be on your Summer Top 10 list? Let me know in the comments below! You can even share your full Top 10 list. :)