The school year is over, summer Fridays are in session, and stress is…well, inevitable.
Between packed schedules, camps, carpooling and constant sleepovers, it’s easy to put self-care on the backburner. Let’s face it: working in some “you time” can feel stressful in and of itself. Not to mention, saying “no” to something can feel selfish or even mean (spoiler alert: it’s not).
But self-care doesn’t always come in the form of state-of-the-art spas and long weekend retreats—it’s about doing something you enjoy. Something to rejuvenate your soul so you can get back to your everyday tasks with a renewed sense of purpose and joy. This could mean a quick nap, an exercise video, a glass of wine or your favorite movie.
I also like to think of self-care as a long-term approach to protect my time (and sanity)—aka, not just moments to yourself, but boundaries and philosophies to establish in your everyday life.
Sounds pretty sweet, doesn’t it? Keep scrolling for five long-lasting tips to a more relaxed, present summer…
1. Avoid over scheduling.
If you’re a parent like me, you know how busy our little ones’ summer schedules can be. That’s why I set boundaries: Each of my four kids are allowed to choose one activity, like baseball or swimming, and two camps to attend. Nothing else! Not only does this keep me sane (who wants to spend their entire summer carpooling?)—it creates some extra free time for myself. Remember, “me time” isn’t selfish, whether you’re a parent or not.
Read More: The Busy Girl’s Guide to Self-Care
2. Embrace lazy days with nothing to do.
Speaking of overscheduling, a packed calendar will only lead to burnout and rigidity. Don’t get me wrong, planning is great! But you should try to leave room for spontaneity, too—even if it’s an extra hour to nap every once in a while. Productivity doesn’t always need to be your priority. Embrace the times you need rest (or even some well-deserved fun!). Say yes to people and experiences you actually want to do instead of packing your schedule with activities you’re not overly excited about.
3. Take time to truly recharge.
I said it once, and I’ll say it again: “me time” isn’t selfish. Not to mention, when you take care of yourself, you’ll be able to better show up for the ones you love. Schedule a date night with your spouse, friends or siblings. It doesn’t need to be fancy! Maybe it’s time to book that adult weekend away, or even a massage. Be sure to choose something that feeds your soul and will keep you feeling refreshed. Remember, not everyone’s self-care looks the same.
4. Welcome the balance.
Stay consistent with things that keep your health in balance. Summer may bring more late nights or inconsistent diet choices—hey, life happens! There’s no need to beat yourself up over pizza night, relaxing days by the pool, or ice cream runs. Those are all amazing things! But that doesn’t mean you should abandon your health goals entirely. Continue making time for exercise, meditation, and yes, even your skincare routine.
5. Avoid distractions & stay present.
Take advantage of the sun shining, the temps rising and your kids being home for a few months—these days will be gone before you know it! Try to reduce tech time as a family. Go for a walk in the park, plan a picnic, head to the pool, read your favorite books and maybe even consider setting time limits on certain apps (your future self will thank you).Read More: My Favorite Spring Things: Vacation Essentials, Books to Read, Cleaning Tips & Skincare Musts