My immense enthusiasm for the season is often felt in my body, mind and heart as social burnout by mid-August. Every spring, I try to prepare myself for a full social calendar by making some boundaries for myself on how I'll spend my time and energy. Inevitably, I break all the rules and just give myself over to my love affair with summer.
Here's something I've learned about myself during the pandemic:
I don't actually have the same capacity as I had in the "before times."
The constant stress of the past several years has diminished my - and many others' - capacity to engage, be active, socialize and be otherwise productive in everyday life activities. I personally recognize a greater need for alone time, rest, and sleep...and let me tell you: that does NOT align with my past summer-loving vibe!
If you, like me, tend to overdo it in the summer and/or have noticed a change in your capacity, I'm offering up the following self-inventory reflection prompts to start honing in on your unique and seasonal self-care needs before the momentum of summer sweeps you off your feet.
Before diving into any practice that aims at a deeper self-knowing, take some time to get embodied. Reflecting or journaling is a great activity to follow physical movement. This could be a full-blown workout or just a short walk or stretch session. Focus on feeling your body by taking deep breaths and not distracting yourself with conversation or other stimulus.
Tuck in with a journal and a favorite pen, or a trusted friend to dialogue on the the following questions:
- What's going well for me right now? In what ways am I caring for myself that feels really good?
- What needs do I have that are not being met right now?
- What am I looking forward to most about my summer? Are there any events on the calendar that I want to keep in mind as I plan my self-care needs (i.e. travel plans you want to be well-rested for)?
- Reflecting on last summer, what can I learn about my self-care needs? In what ways am I good at meeting those already?
- What self-care needs require some planning and attention now? How can I better support my wellbeing this summer (consider both things to have boundaries around, as well as things to invite in)?
Let me use myself as an example for how I would use these prompts to create a personalized seasonal self-care plan.
I know that I care best for myself when I have time to focus on myself and rest. I need a big chunk of time to "play" (i.e. do whatever I want). When I have that, I experience much less friction in my other health habits (eating, exercise, sleep, etc.). So, here's how I can line that up for myself this summer:
- I will not make plans on Sundays. I can make plans on the day-of, if I chose to, but will not make plans in advance so that if I need a day to rest and have alone time, I have Sunday dedicated to that.
That might sound really, really simple...but the easier the approach to a new habit works the best for me. I know that not only can I sustain something that feels easy, I also want to!
I hope this inventory helps you engage with some inner wisdom and shores up some self-care habits that serve you through this summer and beyond.