Summer is almost at an end. School is starting. The green chile is being harvested and roasted here in New Mexico and the mornings are just a teensy bit cooler. If you're a teacher like me, you're working on lesson plans and course outlines in preparation for the coming semester. In fact, August always seem to be a fine balance between enjoying the most of summer's end (blissfully unstructured time!) and preparing for my fall classes (aka getting sh** done). While I am excited about fall--apples, freshly sharpened pencils, pumpkins, and crisp mornings--it can be easy to let the demands of work become so consuming that the last days of summer vanish before I can fully enjoy them. So in an attempt to take advantage of these extra days before school starts, I've come up with a few tips to make the most of summer's end.
1. Schedule play time...and nap time. Yes, the semester is infinitely easier if you can get your lesson plans in order before the first day of school, but that doesn't mean you have to say goodbye to goofing around. If you want to enjoy an afternoon swimming or reading or napping, pencil it in to make sure you don't put it off. You can thank me later!
2. Take advantage of the farmers' market. Nothing says summer like fresh produce. Get out and enjoy local ingredients for a deliciously fresh dinner. An ordinary meal turns into a culinary adventure when you go to the farmers' market to enjoy a summer feast. Summer is all about spontaneity and spur-of-the-moment enjoyment. Nothing says that more than biting into a ripe peach fresh from market stands or throwing an impromptu picnic. Seize the day!
3. Get outside. Enjoy nature by taking long walks, stargazing, tending your garden...all those outdoor things that make summer special. With the changing of the seasons comes more time indoors, so enjoy the deliciousness of outside while you don't have to wear a jacket.
4. Do less, not more. This is a great rule of thumb for your life in general, but especially now that you might feel yourself gearing up for fall--yes even if you're not a teacher, the fall can signal a time of renewed industry. Make a conscious effort to trim the fat out of your schedule (unnecessary errands, over-committing to social events) in favor of more time for self-care. This way when you are busier, it is easy to stick to your self-care routine and gentle lifestyle rather than getting caught up in the frenzy of the new school year.
5. Make the transition a celebration! I love the changing seasons. In fact, I almost love these transitional moments between each full blown season more than the four seasons themselves. There is something akin to possibility wafting in the air during this liminal time as if every day magic is fully exposed in nature as it shows off the bounty of summer harvest while preparing for the turning of leaves in fall. All of which are worthy of a celebration and deep enjoyment. Remember those farmers markets I was talking about? Why not take all that juicy produce and have a summer harvest party? Dance under the light of the moon, stay up late reading at night, wake up early to bask in the cool air, search for ladybugs in the grass...simply take the time to celebrate this gorgeous season change and last light of summer in any way you can.
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