Do you ever feel like you get up, face the tasks of the day, go to bed and then wake up to press replay? The Groundhog Day phenomenon! We all laugh about it, but the reality is that it can be very draining.
In our society today, we are inundated by the daily demands of work, commuting, coordinating schedules for the kids, sports, homework, mail, email and the work-from-home-tasks. Working moms and dads, stay at home moms and dads, couples without children and single people alike, share in common the drag of the daily grind; each with their own perspective but the same effect nevertheless. A common strategy in family households is “divide and conquer.” Couples often create a list of the tasks at hand, divide and strategize how to accomplish everything that needs to be completed. Most days and weeks it feels as if there is no room for anything else.
Ever found yourself saying “I really want to ___________ but I just don’t have the time”? This is such a common phrase in our society and it speaks to the reality of our lifestyles.
Social Media has its benefits, but we need to remain aware that we can experience a sense of pressure as we tap into our news feeds. Many social media sites have become a platform for people to share their lives with one another. As we view pictures that celebrate the great adventures of a person’s life, we forget that this is the part of their life they celebrate. Thank you to the innovator s of social media for giving the world a chance to post happy news. The downside is that we tend to interpret this as the whole story of a person’s life and compare that to our own life. As we celebrate with them, it is common to also feel a step behind. Whether we are pressured to post pictures of our amazing life or we feel bad that we are not making 20 batches of organic baby food, running marathons or traveling to the most amazing places in the world. We must keep up with the Joneses!
Again, have you ever found yourself saying, “How can I fit any of this in when I can barely handle the load I am carrying?”
Summer Time Fun
Summer is the classic time to step outside of the daily grind. Schedules change a little and some become a little relaxed. The weather is warm and day light hours are longer allowing more opportunity for outside activities, even after the dinner hour. It is a great season for changing up the norm. It is also a great time to alter your daily grind in a way that you may be able to sustain some changes even when the season ends.
The phrase: “here are some ideas on how to add a little summer fun into your daily grind” can evoke a variety of responses or what we call “automatic thoughts”. Some of us will think “how can I find any time in my day for any of these ideas?” Some will think, “I wonder if there is anything interesting on the list!” It is helpful to take note of the reaction and realize if the automatic thought triggers a feeling of pressure, inspiration or anything in between. Understanding your initial response helps you learn more about how you are operating right now and how you are experiencing life. Whatever the reaction, where there is motivation, there is opportunity.
Breaking up the daily grind can range anywhere from a big adventure to a tiny experience. Anytime we bring change or a new experience into our life it brings stimulation and energy to the brain. This type of activity excites the “feel good” centers of our brain bringing more energy and a smile. It also creates a new experience for social conversations and new ideas. One tiny experience can have a positive domino effect.
As we contemplate our summer fun, those of us seeking big adventures can plan a trip, train for a marathon, hike a mountain or paraglide. Those of us seeking smaller adventures may plan more trips tothe beach, camping, daytrips to a new or familiar place, exciting projects or a visit to a local fair. These adventures often provide a stress relief and a break in the daily routine; a pressure valve!
Along with these adventures there is an infinite number of ways we can break up our daily grind with very small adjustments. It doesn’t mean the daily grind goes away, but tiny adjustments can allow us to enhance the enjoyment of our lives. The key is that we need to consciously make the decision or the plan. Even the silliest changes can spark new ideas and experiences such as shopping at a different grocery store. Seeing new food items can inspire new meals or snack ideas as well as the experience of different sights, sounds and different people. A simple tweak in the daily routine breaks us from our auto-pilot mode and stimulates the brain. Let’s be honest … grocery shopping is not listed at the top ofour summer-fun-list, but it’s an example of how we can accomplish a daily routine while experiencing something new.
On the simple end of the continuum, adding some summer fun may include trying a new restaurant, reading a book, taking a walk with your spouse, having Wednesday comedy night at home and watch funny movies, try a new hobby or spark up an old one, have a picnic lunch or call an old friend. Ask yourself what you would like to have time for or what experience would increase your enjoyment in life. The next step is deciding how to start small (or big if you have the time) and contemplate the possibility!
Enjoy the summer!