Balance Your Life - A column by Amy Kite
Whether you live in the Midwest, like me, where you endure months of cold, sleet, grey skies and snow or whether you live in a great climate wherein many of your days are 70 and sunny (yes, I still want to talk to you!), summer is short. We have just three months of fresh fruit, festivals, long days and hot nights. It always seems to fly by leaving us looking at Halloween wondering where the lazy days of summer went. As July’s warmth ensues, take a look at these tips to enjoying the heart of summer. They will help enable you to be in the moment and absorb the sunshine and simplicity of summer.
1. Embrace the Kid Within You
I was talking to my 40-year-old brother yesterday and telling him about this awesome banana-chocolate milkshake that I had just enjoyed. He told me that he had not had a milkshake in about 20 years. Why is it that, as adults, we let so many of those wonderful indulgences evade us? There’s nothing like a cool, delicious milkshake on a hot, summer day. Go for it. Enjoy it. Don’t think that tasty treat is just for your kids. Anything that good should be enjoyed (in moderation, of course) by all! The same goes for cotton candy. I know it’s loaded with sugar. But, balance is the key. If you started off your day with yogurt and fruit, had a healthy salad for lunch and now find yourself at the local art fair -- let your fingers get sticky. When you make a lot of good “adult” choices throughout your days, you don’t have to think twice about an occasional “bad one.”
2. Let Go
Many of us spend a lot of time taking care of our homes, our children, ourselves. We commit to routines of working out, bed times, cleaning, etc. But, we have plenty of time in the winter for that. This is the time to be a little bit looser with your regimens. My kids all wanted to swim after dinner last night, and my instinct was to say no as I wanted them to take their showers, get in bed and not dirty up more beach towels. I quickly realized that these summer nights are rare, and that I needed to loosen up and let go. And, I’m so happy that I did. They swam and laughed and played and tired themselves out plenty, so that the bedtime procedure I was anticipating ended up going even more smoothly than normal. Let the heat encourage you to be a bit lazy, loose and free.
3. Step Outside of Your Comfort Zone
All year long, we should remember the importance of maintaining an open mind, of trying new things. I find that the ease and fun of summer are the perfect catalysts to thrust us into new challenges and experiences. Go to a summer concert for a genre of music you’ve never previously enjoyed. If you’re a heavy metal fan, check out that Bluegrass festival. It’s the perfect time to break your conditioned habits. At a Mexican restaurant where you normally have a Corona, grab that salt-rimmed Margarita instead. Hey, it’s summer! It’s time to step outside of your own deeply-imbedded sandbox.
4. Read, Dance and Be Free
There is so much beauty all around you, from the flowers to the sundresses to the brilliantly-colored summer sunsets. Put down your cell phone, turn off that reality TV show, stop playing word games, go to the beach and get lost in a book. Or, simply feel the sand between your toes. Go in your backyard, crank up the music and dance barefoot in the grass. Do things you love rather than just check chores off your list. Dance, laugh, discover, celebrate life ... it’s even more fun when the sun is shining!