3 Easy Ways to Simplify Your Summer
Photo by Michael Escobar Photography
My life used to be complicated.
I overcommitted, under budgeted and was frequently exhausted. I ran late, always said yes (or rather, couldn’t say no) and strived for perfection. I can pinpoint the day that I wished I would come down with the flu so I would have an excuse to lay in bed and just sleep. At the time it seemed completely reasonable and I look back on that period of my life and am astounded I was wishing away my own health so that I could press pause and get some rest.
I came to the conclusion that I would simplify my life and be purposeful in making time for the things that matter. Since then I’ve found that the benefits of living simply have exceeded what I thought possible – healthier living, more money in the budget, a deeper faith and more time to spend with my family.
Now that summer is in full swing, I invite you to join me in keeping it simple and making this season the best yet!
1. Preparation is key
I was once chronically late to everything, and it wasn’t until I learned to prepare that I was able to really simplify my day – especially my mornings – and get out the door on time. Here are a few things I’ve learned about planning and preparing that have helped me save time and create lasting memories.
Plan with purpose
In between all of the things I have to do on my calendar, I make sure to proactively schedule the good stuff, like lunch with friends, playdates and fun weekend activities. If it isn’t written in my planner I tend to get caught up in the minutiae of every day and forget to make the important relationship things happen. If your summer is like mine it is flying by, so break out your calendar and block out time for a road trip or something special with the kids, because if it is written down it is more likely to come to fruition.
In addition to having my work bag and the diaper bag packed up the night before, I’ve found that having the pool bag ready really helps us get out the door on days we are able to swim. Gather the essentials – sunscreen, beach towels, snacks and other necessities and store them in your favorite pool or beach bag. I love my Astrida Beach Bag for pool days! Getting everything together beforehand saves so much time and I love that I don’t spend time packing up while the sun is out.
Get in sync
From sunsets to ocean views, there are many summer memories worth capturing. I’ve learned the hard way that there is nothing more disappointing than missing a moment because the dreaded “memory full” alert appears. To avoid this, be sure to sync your camera memory card or mobile device so you have plenty of space when you are ready to capture new memories. I have found this to be especially important before traveling, because there is nothing worse than having to go through all of your pictures trying to decide what to delete to free up more space when you haven’t synced.
2. Minimize stress
Summertime brings its own set of stressors with less structure and a change in routine. Here are a few areas I’ve been focusing on to minimize stress this summer.
Wear the basics
Instead of shopping frequently, spending loads of money and having too many choices in my closet, I have tried a simple capsule wardrobe of summer staples — a few maxi dresses, white jeans and basic tank tops. The fewer choices I have, the quicker I am able to get ready every morning. To maximize each outfit, I rotate different statement necklaces, earrings and shoes. I love the simplicity of getting ready and the versatility of changing up my look with accessories.
Unplug from social media
In an effort to resist the urge to check social media constantly, I delete all social media apps from my phone for a few days at a time. The break helps me focus on the people right in front of me verses giving in to the need to always be connected. It also ensures I don’t let other people’s picture worthy summer memories hinder me from making my own.
I am constantly reminded that loving on those around me is such a great way to bless others while helping me experience gratitude for my own blessings. Consider decluttering your closet and donating excess clothing to a women’s shelter, or grab your girlfriends and plan a summer Trunk Show or playdate with a purpose and help create opportunity for Artisans all over the world.
I am finding that a simple summer frees me up to live contentedly and appreciate what is unfolding right in front of me, including all of my favorite summer traditions.
I frequently visit our neighborhood produce stand (or farmers market) and stock up on locally grown fruits, veggies and meat. I love to keep mealtime easy by grilling chicken and vegetables, as well as slicing watermelon. I usually plan to grill enough for two nights because there is nothing better than having dinner covered without having to cook on the second night.
One of my favorite summer traditions it to use what I find at the local produce stand to make popsicles. Look for BPA free popsicle molds and experiment to find your favorite recipe. We love almond milk, strawberries, peaches, blueberries and spinach. Or try this delicious recipe for Strawberry Ombre Creamsicles. Sure to be enjoyed by kids and adults alike!
Remember to slow down when possible and be intentional about doing activities that refresh you and bring joy to your life. Enjoy simple things like taking a walk, meeting a friend for coffee, chasing fireflies with your children or curling up with a good book.
Enjoy your simple summer, because in a few short weeks fall will be upon us (for the love!) and we’ll be enjoying looking back on all the sweet memories we made!