Okay, summer is just around the corner! I know it’s easy to get caught up in the IDEA of warm weather and beach trips — but without a plan, you’ll probably find yourself aimlessly wandering through the season. So let’s get things started on the right path with 10 ways to begin your simple summer.
A simple summer doesn’t mean a boring one — it means designing a summer that brings you joy and relaxation to fit with your intentional living goals. Let’s talk about creating a plan that will make this summer your favorite yet!
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Simple Summer Dreams vs. Reality
It seems to happen the same way every year. Sometime in April or May, we begin to envision the perfect summer:
Long, lazy days spent relaxing, maybe doing something different and fun with our children every day. In the evenings, we see ourselves on the deck, enjoying quiet time with our spouse.
Then reality happens.
It’s hot. There are bugs. The children claim to be bored every day. Maybe we can’t get those extra days off work that we had expected. Or, going on vacation and weekend getaways seem like more work than enjoyment. Add in the usual graduation parties, bridal showers, weddings…
We start to stress. What will we wear? What should we buy for gifts? What happened to those endless days we dreamed of?
By August, we just want cool weather, school to begin, and life to get ‘back to normal.’
Let’s change that this year.
I’ll admit, there have been too many years when I vaguely thought about spending every summer evening relaxing on the deck. Then, somehow it was the end of August and I realized we never sat out there more than once or twice. Those were the summers that never felt ‘right.’
But the summers when we made a point to spend more time sitting outside, relaxing, talking? Best. summers. ever.
Commit to making it happen, and make a plan.
Take control and create your simple summer.
Release. Refresh. Relax.
Do You Need A Simple Summer Plan?
Simple does not mean unplanned. Having goals for your summer is actually good. Make those goals basic, meaningful and realistic — meaning, account for the heat and the bugs.
If you’ve read my blog before, you know I’m a planner. My mind just works that way, and that’s why I write for overthinkers who are easily overwhelmed. If the idea of planning a simple summer seems like an oxymoron, it’s really not.
What you’re doing is setting a focus, which helps everything else fall in line. One focus: simplify.
You can do this!
10 Ways to Begin Enjoying a Simple Summer
1. Update your calendar.
Whether you use Google calendar or a paper planner (Tools4Wisdom planners and Erin Condren planners are very popular with my readers), make sure you have everything entered and updated for the summer. Every haircut, every graduation party, every dentist appointment…
When you have an overall picture of your summer commitments, you will see where you can fit in extra relaxation. Or, you may be able to shift some appointments now that you wouldn’t be able to do if you waited. Having everything on the calendar makes Sunday planning for the week so much faster!
Take a couple of minutes to set reminders on your phone of upcoming appointments and events. Although I prefer a paper planner and calendar, I do my best to put the important stuff into Google calendar so I get reminders on my phone.
2. Streamline your gift-giving.
Decide now how you will approach gift-giving for all events this summer. Cash? Get it out of the bank, buy the card, and put it all together now. Shopping off registry lists? Buy online and do it now… do NOT wait until 3 days before the event.
Are you considering buying unique and personal gifts for everyone? Think carefully about this. Not everyone appreciates those specially chosen gifts. Only spend your time and gift-shopping energy on those who WILL appreciate the effort you put into it. For everyone else, cash or gift cards are just fine. It’s not rude, and you don’t have to be embarrassed, thinking you didn’t ‘try’ hard enough.
3. Get your summer wardrobe in order.
If you haven’t done this yet, now is the time! Declutter your winter wardrobe BEFORE storing coats, boots, etc. Then work with what you have left.
I’m fashion-challenged and hate shopping, so this is always high on my list of stress triggers.
4. Journal your summer dreams, expectations, and ‘wanna-do’ projects.
Make lists, or write about your perfect summer day… or even what you would like a ‘regular’ summer day to be like. If you can’t picture it, you can’t make it happen.
Try these summer journal prompts to get you started. And if you need more ideas for things to do that will inspire you this summer, I have a list of summer goals that are perfect for even the worst overthinker’s summer bucket list.
If you’re concerned about potential summer parenting breakdowns, check out these summer sanity savers for busy moms.
5. Drink more water.
I know, doesn’t everyone say this? 😉 But seriously, just do it. Get an infuser and keep it in the fridge if you hate plain water.
While you’re thinking about what goes into your body, refresh your diet. You know all those pretty pictures of gorgeous fruits and vegetables that make you drool? Eat those foods! They don’t have to be as gorgeous as an Instagram photo, but more water and natural foods are what your body needs at this time of the year.
6. Adjust to the longer daylight hours.
Shift your daily schedule to include relaxing evening activities, preferably ones that don’t take place in front of the television or your computer. Start watching the sunset, or spending time on the deck before dinner. Stretch those evening hours with downtime, not rushing around to get more done.
7. Schedule more time off work.
Don’t just think about it or ‘wait to see’ how ‘maybe’ plans work out. Actually SCHEDULE days off. Get them approved and put them on your calendar. People will either adjust plans to fit the time you have, or you can use that time to do something special for yourself.
If you work from home, this can be incredibly difficult. It always seems like we should be doing SOMETHING for our business. But taking time off is just as important as taking time from a ‘regular’ job.
8. Look around the house.
It’s time to declutter and refresh your home. You don’t have to completely redecorate. Just getting rid of the excess will make everything feel fresher and more open. But if there is a redecorating project you’ve been wanting to tackle, summer is a great time to do that — especially after decluttering! 😉
Perk up the outdoor spaces you see and use every day. Maybe get some deck furniture, or some pretty flower arrangements for the porch. Just do a couple of things that will make you want to spend time in those areas, and make you smile while you’re there.
9. Get up 15 minutes earlier and sit outside or take a walk.
No electronics allowed!
Give yourself space, grace, and a few minutes to breathe every day.
10. Clear old photos off your phone so you have room for new ones.
Nobody wants to see the dreaded ‘not enough storage on device’ message! Photos and videos take up a lot of room on your phone. Store them in your cloud storage. If you’re paranoid like me, also make a ‘hard’ copy on an external hard drive. While you’re at it, print out and frame some of your favorites so you can see them all the time!
Remember your goal this summer: Release, Refresh, Relax.
Get started with these suggestions, and make them part of your everyday life throughout the summer.
More Intentional Living Inspiration
Make This A Priority For Your Summer
I know what you’re thinking: ‘But Julie, how can you call it Simple Summer when you’re talking about all this planning and decluttering and refreshing and projects and stuff?’
Here’s the thing: we’re taking this step by step. Deciding to have a simple summer is the first step, but there’s more to it than that.
This isn’t a challenge.
It’s a process to Build Your Best Life.
For now, envision what your simple summer will look like.
Next, check out my 15 tips for how to make the summer go by slower.
After that, read the next post in the simple summer series.
You’ve got this!
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This post was originally published May 25, 2017. It was updated April 6, 2023.