One of the most common questions around this time of year is “How’s your summer?” Inevitably, a typical response includes some variation of “TOO SHORT!”
It is so common for us to have started the summer with ambitious goals of how we will spend our days throughout the summer—whether getting good rest and relaxation, having more social plans, organizing our homes, revamping our exercise routines, focusing on self-care or traveling. While many people may be feeling their best in the summer with a sense of lightness, accomplishment and joy with these missions accomplished, that certainly is not the case for all! In fact, for many, this time of year can have people feeling a bit blue!
The acknowledgement that summer has come and is nearly gone without actualizing what we set out to do can certainly lead to feelings of sadness or regret. Whether it was lack of planning, procrastinating, focusing on something else, or perhaps having an “ideal list” rather than a “realistic list,” it’s easy to wish you had played it differently. Well…it’s not too late! While we may not be able to do EVERYTHING you had set out to do, there is still time to make the summer end on a high note. In fact, our brains tend to remember the most recent information in the strongest way (thank you, recency effect!) so that’s to say that our minds may recall a great summer, even if the middle wasn’t great, if we end it on a high note! In the words of C.S. Lewis, “You can’t go back and change the beginning but you can start where you are and change the ending.” Together, let’s make now the opportunity to make the summer what you want it to be. HOW?
Some quick “Lessons by Dr. Lessans”
In your mind, fast forward to the Tuesday after Labor Day. Imagine how you would want to tell a friend about how your summer went. What is the narrative? What are the things you would have done? How would you have wished you felt? Now that we know how you want it to go, let’s make that happen!
Write out a list of those things you want to do. Then SCHEDULE them on your calendar! Buy the ticket for that show, book the plane ticket, call that friend for that plan. Don’t just think about doing it—set yourself up to increase the likelihood you will do it!
If there are goals you wanted to achieve that aren’t realistic to achieve in the next two weeks, let’s think about how you can start the process of achieving them. Knowing you have at least started to do what you set out to do (for example, organizing one closet even if your ideal goal was your entire house) will get the ball going in the right direction.
Don’t idealize! While summer may naturally feel like a time of more relaxation and joy, this is still achievable even when summer has come to end! Let’s try to make the ending the best it can be. Even if it doesn’t go that way, we can make fall what you want it to be!
I’ll be giving tips throughout the year of ways to continue to find calm and joy throughout the year. Happy Summering and look forward to those Post-Labor Day conversations where you can talk about the summer the way you had hoped!
Dr. Stacey Lessans
141 East 55th Street, New York, NY 10022
1025 Northern Blvd, Manhasset, NY 11576