Give Yourself a Summer
Sometimes, I get overwhelmed looking at my own to do list. I feel like the way I stack my responsibilities is directly correlated to some need I have to fully exhaust myself before taking a break. I'm not good at intermittent rest days, or resting at all, for that matter. And for a long time, I've thought this was just one of my problems. I chalked it up to a side effect of my personality and career choices, but recently, I've noticed that this pattern isn't an isolated epidemic. From the time we were children, we were programmed to have a summer vacation. Our years were planned in quarters or semesters, and holiday weeks and weekends were a natural break in the flow of life. Everything built up to the final weeks of May, when the last bell would ring, and we'd all be free for three months. Free to play, free to escape our day to day responsibilities, and free to forget about all the stressful events that culminated up to that moment.
Unfortunately, unless you're a teacher, summer break is a thing of the past. We can't possibly take a three month hiatus from our lives without some serious consequences. However, I think the notion of summer holds some of the answers to why we work in the way that we do. We build, build, build our stress and responsibilities up to our breaking point, and then we give ourselves a day, weekend, or short trip to the beach to "reset". You all, there's a reason summer was three months - our current game plan isn't going to cut it.
As nice as reinstating summer may sound, I don't think the answer is to long for a thing of the past. Instead, we have to realize that our lives no longer center around a very large break, so we have to be better about building in valuable rest, even when a seaside vacation is nowhere in sight. We need to be smarter about the way we organize our responsibilities, so that we don't work to the point of fatigue each week and "rebound" over the weekend.
Your duty to take care of yourself is not a selfish notion - it's necessary for survival. So, what does that look like for you? Maybe you need to go into work a little bit earlier, so that you can have more family time in the evenings. Maybe you need to splurge and buy some classes at the yoga studio you love, so that you can have some "me time" to recoup. For many of us, rest looks like delegating and utilizing the people in your life to help you get things done, instead of charging ahead with your blinders on. In order to be the best version of yourself in your relationships and career, you have to begin to set your own boundaries, and they will be unique to each person. Give yourself a little summer, whatever that looks like for you. Your body will thank you.