It’s summertime and the living is easy…or not….because you still have to go to work, cook supper, mow the lawn, chauffeur your children to camp…Summer living may not be easy, but it is a good opportunity to live life a little differently and, hopefully, to incorporate more fun into life.
Just as we know the benefits of being intentional with our money – with our saving, with our spending, and with our giving, we also benefit when we are intentional with how we spend our time. After you map out your summer schedule for work, vacation, and weddings, put time on the calendar for things you want to do! If you want to read a book a month in June, July, and August, you could put an appointment on your calendar for reading time each day. Perhaps you want to get together with friends you don’t see as often as you’d like. You could invite them over for an impromptu deck party. Or maybe you want to ride horses like you did when you were a kid. The idea is to live life a little differently than you do in the rest of the year.
I’m designing my summer by intentionally spending at least 2 days a month exploring the great outdoors with my family. Time spent in nature is shown to reduce stress and boost mood. It’s
also an opportunity to disconnect from technology, at least for a few hours, because it is hard to check email or Instagram while hiking to see a waterfall! So far, my family traveled to North Alabama and explored Mentone (lunch at the Wildflower Café was delicious!), Little River Canyon and DeSoto Falls. We spent another Saturday exploring Alabama’s highest point on Cheaha Mountain and taking in the beautiful views. In addition to being outside, I enjoyed the time in the car when my husband and I were talking to our teens about what grade they have enjoyed most in school so far, what teachers have made the biggest impact (shout out to Mrs. Edwards and Mr. Buckner, you rock!), and what they are looking forward to and anxious about as they enter high school. Somehow our adventures made those weekends feel longer, which is a win when it seems like the years are flying. These outings don’t cost a lot of money (gasoline and lunch) or time (part of a Saturday), but they have brought a lot of joy! If you want to explore Alabama, the website http://alabama.travel/ is a helpful resource to find things to do, places to see, and restaurants with great food and drink.
The inspiration for designing your summer came from this podcast by Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project. Rubin uses the following happiness formula: “being happy requires you to think about feeling good, feeling bad, and feeling right in an atmosphere of growth.” She goes on to say, “To feel happy, it’s not enough to have fun with your friends, and not feel guilty about yelling all the time, and feel like you’re working in the right job; you also need to feel growth—a sense of learning, of betterment, of advancement, of contributing to the growth of others.” Summertime is a good time to work on increasing your happiness. In that vein, we’ll have future blog posts on favorite books and podcasts from Bridgeworth advisors that might add a little fun to your summer.