|Posted on June 26, 2016 at 8:05 PM|
It's Summertime: Invest in Your Bloom
by dr. terri
I don’t know about you but June is always a busy month for me. In fact, it’s probably my busiest celebratory month of the year, especially when it comes to graduations. Tonight, as I pen this piece, I am exhaling as I finally wrap-up all my responsibilities related to everyone else’s big day-in-the-life achievements. So what now? Summer is here and I want to enjoy every minute of these lazy hazy days. But I also want to be prepared for autumn’s bloom. And quite frankly, I want to feel as if I made some growth investments in me—even if it’s just growth through some real rest and relaxation.
Admittedly, as an educator, it’s hard to shut my brain off. I’m always thinking and wanting to learn something new. And since last summer, I’ve been on a learning quest—or what I like to call my professional development sabbatical. I’ve just been taking time to learn new skill sets and business ideas. This sabbatical decision came after 30 years of working in the college world--20 of which were spent in the classroom. Point blank: I decided I needed a minute to reinvent and reinvigorate my work life. How about you? What are you looking to learn? Now it doesn’t have to be lightening in a bottle type of learning. It can be something as simple as learning how to repot a plant properly, learning to cook a new healthy dish, learning more about a financial investment vehicle, or learning how to communicate better.
So with these two questions in mind—how about you and what are you looking to learn—I want to challenge you, even as I am challenging myself, to really think about you and how you want to use these months in order to bloom at summer's end (see harvest cycle chart above). I want you to seriously consider simply investing some time and energy into creating and implementing a growth plan for YOU. And let me get you started with considering these five things (count ‘em on one hand):
1. Health: Decide how you can challenge yourself to exercise and eat right during the summer. Let it be reasonable—not yet another lose 20 lbs. in 20 weeks kind of scheme. As a matter of fact, don’t let this challenge be about weight loss at all. Let it be about movement—moving your body so the aches and pains can be lessened. For me, I’m challenging myself to go from power walking 15 miles a week to 20 miles a week. I’m also challenging myself to step up my yoga game, so I can keep this body of mine limber. Lastly, I’m challenging myself to take heed to the old adage: An apple a day helps keep the doctor away. Yup, I’m planning to eat more apples this summer.
2. Wealth: Decide how you plan to save and spend your money this summer. If you’re an educator like me, summers can be financially tough if we don’t have our regular incomes on tap. But you don't need to be in education, or even be a 10-month worker, to spend wisely over the summer. I’ve learned that I can still save my money by spending it well. For instance, I literally take the time to search for free summer events and mark my calendar with them. This allows me to regularly engage in great entertaining events, where I can meet new people, while keeping my wallet closed. By keeping my lawn chairs and blanket in my car, I’m always road-ready to just show up with my brown bag meal at free events and just soak up the summer ambiance.
3. Home: Decide how you can complete home projects during the summer. Look around your dwelling place and see what you can fix or restyle. It can be a big ticket item such as replacing your roof or putting on a deck. Or it can be something small such as painting the bathroom. If your money is funny, cleaning and decluttering is practically free. My summer project is to go through my home office files and toss out papers. It’s going to cost me some time and energy but it’s an expense I’m willing to incur. And when I’m done, I plan to redecorate my shelves with pretty things to view rather than ugly clutter to revile.
4. Relationships: Decide how you can improve relationships that really matter to you. I can’t tell you how many times I hear people say they are horrible at keeping in contact with great friends. Summer is the perfect time to get “unhorrible” about that reality. For instance, I have a couple of great friends who have been extremely busy for the past several months. They are exhausted. But I am determined to keep us connected because I just don’t want our relationship to fade when we need it most. So until I can peg them down for a face-to-face, I randomly send cards and text messages to encourage them. They love it and thank me for not banning them from being my friend in this season of their lives. So try it. Target a relationship that you treasure, but one that may be changing due to time constraints, and pay it some love and attention over the summer.
5. Spirit-Self: Decide how you can carve out time to increase your spiritual life. For most people, summertime is when they may step away from their weekly corporate worship routines. But summertime is also a perfect time to shift away from religious dogma and move towards a deeper spiritual relationship with the Creator. With longer daylight hours, work towards getting up earlier just so you can have quiet time on your front porch or by your window. Relax and meditate. Turn inward and uncover spiritual smiles that have been hidden beneath the hustle and bustle of your days. As for me, I’ve been waking up (not necessarily getting up) at 5:30 a.m. and just soaking up the solitude. It gets me ready for my first challenge point—taking care of my health, which allows me to take on all the other challenges to follow.
So enjoy your summer. Invest in YOU by taking care of your health, wealth, home, relationships, and spiritual-self. Then get ready for your bloom. Stay + y’all…
dr. terri is an educator, empowerment writer, and entrepreneur,
who provides education planning, writing guidance, and life-mapping services to the sisterhood and those they love.