Now I wasn’t quite around in the summer of ’69 but when I was a child the summers certainly seemed to last forever and I do fondly look back on them as the best days of my life. So whilst on the packed and sweaty tube this morning on the way to work, I got to wondering what it was about childhood summers that made them so great and so stress free.
Here are a few ways to reclaim those happy days to make more of the summer of ’17 (not quite so catchy!).
The school uniform
As a 30-something, one of the stresses of summer is the colourful, skin-bearing, accessorised, never ending wardrobe that we (and the magazines) expect us to own. Summer mornings are therefore spent surrounded by mountains of unsuitable outfits as we scorn the sunshine and declare for the 3rd time that week “I have nothing to wear!” As a primary school child, that was never a problem. That little checked summer dress or grey shorts and polo shirt were thrown on, accessorised with a dashing pair of bright white socks and, if you were a girl, and a really lucky one at that, a pair of those patent Clarke’s shoes with the keyhole in the sole.
I recently attending a talk by the mental health charity MIND. It was a fascinating talk in general and I’ll continue to share bits of advice on here and via my Facebook and Twitter accounts. But it was this bit of advice that really stayed with me: “Responding to mental health is like being on a plane – you have to put your oxygen mask on first before you can help others.”
This is a great metaphor, and means the same thing as ‘you can’t pour from an empty cup’. So often we give all our energy to ensuring that the people around us are ok. We worry about our friends, family, partners, children, even pets, and when we’re so busy checking that our network are doing ok it’s easy to forget to check in with ourselves. And that’s when we run the risk of burning out.
What a difference a sunny weekend can make! It suddenly seems appropriate to drink prosecco and eat ice cream in the early hours of the afternoon. There’s a glorious waft of BBQs around every corner and every open space is filled with people soaking up the first rays of the year. Everyone seems so much happier when the sun is shining. And it’s the perfect time for a bit of reflection.
When the sun is out we allow ourselves to stop. If we take an hour on a weekend to just sit on the sofa, we feel like we’ve wasted time and are behaving like a slob. But, take yourself out into the garden or local park and no-one would ever think you lazy for spending some quality time sitting on the grass enjoying the weather. Maybe it’s because we never know how long the warm weather will last so we think we must make the most of it! Whatever it is that makes it more ‘acceptable’ to stop when the sun comes out, I’m all for it.