By Paula Lorimer
Summertime is a great time for many things, vacations, kids camps, summer jobs, days by the pool or beach, finishing projects, and that long-awaited warm weather. Summer is also a great time to slow down a little, reflect, and enjoy life.
We live in a bigger, better, faster world, one that despite our best efforts, we just can’t seem to catch up with. Our ‘to-do’ lists get longer with work, school, activities, and the everyday errands that make us perpetually busy. However there are no more hours added to each day, which means we need to function more efficiently. Technology has helped us in so many ways, making our lives more convenient with on-line shopping, advanced communication, and a multitude of apps and programs designed to streamline and simplify our lives.
Yet, with all our lists, apps, and constant contact we are more stressed out than ever! In fact stress is an epidemic today. Rates of burnout, depression, and anxiety have soared, as have their physical correlates such as obesity, high blood pressure, sleep disorders, muscle tension, colds and flu, and teeth grinding to name only a few.
The disadvantage of our use of technology is never being able to disconnect – we’re available all the time and expected to be as well. How quickly do you expect a text or e-mail responded to? Immediately would be nice, but longer than 24 hours and we start to get edgy – ‘why aren’t they getting back to me?’
Many of us even vacation the way we live our day-to-day lives. Perhaps overscheduling the days to make sure you see ‘everything’ on the list, running from one place to another to ‘squeeze’ out every minute of your vacation. Are you really enjoying your vacation and all the things/places you are visiting? Usually you end up coming home more tired and less rested than when you left and in need of an actual restful vacation!
How many times have you heard or said, “time passes so quickly” or “where does the time go”? Time is static, there are only 24 hours in a day, no matter how much or little you do. The more we cram into our day the faster it seems to fly, like we’re running out of time and still not getting everything done. This is where we can best take advantage of summer.
As the hustle of the school year starts in the Fall where we get organized and prepared it also marks the dying season, with the cooler temperatures, changing colour of the leaves and final harvest season. As Winter descends it brings the bustle of the holidays, winter break, and a host of New Years resolutions and projects to start anew. It is also the ‘death’ season, where we are covered with snow and cold.
After our usual long winters, we are ready to jump into spring. A time in which we wrap up the last semester of school, do our spring cleaning, and take to the outdoors. Spring is the ‘birth’ season, where we plant seeds and till the soil. But summer, sweet hot, slow summer is a different story. This is the season of growth and maintenance. All the seeds are planted, we only need to tend to, nurture, and watch them grow.
Summer is a season where we can slow down in the summer sun, clear our minds of the clutter the rest of the seasons bring, and enjoy the sensation of time slowing down. Spend a sunny afternoon by the Lachine Canal, bring a book and a picnic. Cycle to St-Anne-de-Bellevue and take in the scenery. Water your garden and let your thoughts wander wherever they may. Have a ‘stay-cation’ where you stay home on your holiday and enjoy resting, seeing friends and family, and what the city has to offer. Schedule relaxation time if that’s the only way you’ll manage to squeeze it into the schedule. Put an automatic away message on your e-mail for long weekends. Put less on your ‘to-do’ list so you can enjoy these precious long slow summer days…