5 Ways to Ruin a Summer

stress relax
The last day of school has come and gone, and I have just entered my last ever summer break.  That’s two months of freedom–a wide-open ocean of possibilities!  Sounds great, right?  Well, it absolutely is, unless you’re like me and immediately start stressing about how to make this summer count!

As I enter this state of limbo–no job on the horizon, no idea where I’ll be living in the next 6 months–I’m finding that I’m more anxious than optimistic.  I always have a plan.  I always play it safe… until now.  Life is too short to spend it worrying about the future, when I should be fully engaged every day building toward the future I want.

So here it is: 5 ways that negative voice in my head is already putting a damper on my summer, and what I plan to do about it!

1. Lament how short it is.

Summer break just started, and I’m already dreading the end.  How can you possibly enjoy the freedom of summer if you’re already counting down the days?  My plan is to give myself something to look forward to, so that I can focus on the positive instead.  Camping on the 4th of July, a few relaxing weekends on the beach, and maybe a short road trip to a new city–let the anticipation begin!

2. Pressure yourself to do everything!

I love my lists, so naturally the first thing I did when planning out my summer was to write down the many tasks and projects I hoped to complete in my free time.  I even drew up a daily schedule outlining how I would complete these tasks.  I stepped back to admire my planning, and suddenly got a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach.  Sure, I can spend my days searching for a job, planning for the wedding, cleaning out that second bedroom, and get back into a regular work-out routine–but somewhere along the way I lost the spirit of Summer!  The antidote:  make plans to do the important things, but leave some white space on your planner!

3. Feel guilty about relaxing.

I feel good when I’m productive.  I feel guilty when I’m not.  Sometimes I actually have to write things like “go for a walk!” or “call your friend!” on my to-do list so I can give those beneficial activities a place in my life.

4. Panic when things don’t go according to plan.

This isn’t just a summer problem, but the fastest way to suck the joy out of any positive experience is to be rigid about it.  Life is unpredictable, so keep an open mind and go with the flow!

5. Punish yourself for not doing enough.

I grew up in a family where “No dessert until after dinner” and “You can’t play outside until you finish your homework” were iron-clad laws.  This mentality translated into me setting obstacles for myself: “Don’t make fun plans until you’ve cleaned the entire apartment,” or “You can’t leave the house until you’ve finished X, Y, and Z.”  It’s good to be disciplined and set goals for yourself, but these strict conditions often backfire.  Instead of feeling motivated to work hard, I start to feel discouraged and am more likely to procrastinate–plus, with my schedule clear, I have all day to get things done, right?  Why rush?  It’s much better make plans for the afternoon–you’ll naturally feel pressured to get your work done before the deadline when you have something to look forward to!  And if you fall a bit behind schedule?  Let it go!  There’s always tomorrow.

How do you get yourself in the right mindset to enjoy a vacation?  What tips and tricks do you use to get the most out of summer?




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