Today I welcome to the blog author Abigail Yardimci I have followed her on Instagram for a while, and I also reviewed her latest book earlier in the year. She’s talking about the juggle of the summer holidays and self-care. Welcome Abi.
Every season comes with its challenges, right?
In the autumn we’re getting used to that back-to-school vibe, trying to meet deadlines, remembering to make packed lunches, and buttoning up our coats that little bit more. In the winter, we might be battling with the elements, trying to stop the kids from going crazy indoors and dusting off the slow cooker. Spring is wonderful but it can be hard adjusting to those bright mornings and we might still yearn for those cosy winter nights, curled up on the sofa.
And what about summer?
Well, I don’t know about you but I often find the summer a bit of a mental marathon. Yes, I love sunshine and the longer days, but there’s something about the way we are told to enjoy the summer that bugs me. The general message from advertising, social media and TV seems to be: get out there, bare your skin, have adventures, give the kids memories they’ll never forget.
And whilst that all sounds very nice, it’s not always the current mood, is it? As a bit of an introvert, the summer has always been tricky for me. I love the feeling of the sun on my skin, but in my own time and in my own way. I love taking the kids out, but it has to be cheap and it has to be stress-free. I’ve never loved baring skin but get just as hot and sweaty as the next person. I enjoy a longer day, but sometimes wish the stars would come out a bit quicker.
So, this year I’m all for doing things my way. I spent enough years as a teenager, a young adult and then as a mum of small children, feeling the pressure of summer like a lead blanket. And tell me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think the summer is supposed to feel like a lead blanket.
We all know the score about sunscreen, hayfever meds and hydration, so I’m not going to tell you what you already know. Instead, I’ll share five tips that are going to help me get through this summer with more passion, compassion and ease:
- Dopamine Dressing – The summer can be a triggering time if you have body image issues (I certainly do, and I work on them every day). Yes, baring skin can feel wonderful but it can also be scary, and if you have a body that isn’t widely accepted in society (it’s still beautiful, by the way), then getting dressed for a summer’s day can actually be quite stressful. So, my tip is to pick out things from your wardrobe that make you feel wonderful. Focus on colours, fabrics, textures, cuts and movement. Take the focus off how it looks and instead focus on the physical sensations and emotions that the clothes inspire. This can be a real game-changer and, over time, can lead you to making bolder choices that make you feel proud!
- Keep it Simple – There is SO much pressure to do a million and one things with the kids over summer. I live in Devon and my socials are saturated with images of friends on paddleboards, at music festivals, swimming in rivers etc. Good for them, I say, but that’s not easy – or even possible – for everyone. I am restricted by budget as well as time (balancing full-time hours with kids at home is interesting!) so I’ve learned that sometimes simple is best. A cheapo picnic in the local park. A water fight in the garden. Charades in the front yard. Ultimately, your kids don’t care if you’re spending loads of money or effort – they just want your presence. Simple as that. And let’s be honest, sometimes in this frenetic world, even giving them our presence can be a challenge, right? So I say keep things simple and you’ll have so much more freedom to create magical moments almost out of nowhere.
- Nourish Your Network – I don’t know about you, but when my kids were small, looking after them over the summer holidays were some of my loneliest months of the year. It can feel a bit like a kick in the teeth when you can’t access your usual trusted network, because ‘everybody else’ seems to be living it up somewhere tropical. Remember loneliness can cause us to catastrophise so when you catch yourself doing this, perhaps find a way to nourish that network instead. Invite people over for garden drinks; meet one friend for an early morning stroll; arrange playdates with other families; maybe even do the weekly food shop with a friend. You’ve got to get that social connection where you can and it doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. Simple, honest connections can feed the soul and make the summer more meaningful.
- Nature Sessions – We all know that time in nature is good for us, right? And even though I don’t believe we need to spend every second of the summer outdoors, experience tells me that at least a little bit of time with nature can be soothing. And the good news here is that you can decide to dial this up or down depending on your mood, situation and time available. If you’re really not feeling it, simply sitting on your front doorstep for a few moments can be enough. If you’re feeling more adventurous, you can go all out and spend a day in a forest or plan a beach day. Whatever you decide (and there are SO many variations between those two examples), it’s all about bringing your focus to the moment, and noticing what you can see, hear, feel, taste and smell. Easy, right?
- Feed Your Soul – In one of my novels, Everything Is Yours, the main character, Jess says: “I need sustenance for my soul as well as my body.” Out of all the words I’ve written, these ones often come back to me. I struggled with disordered eating during my teenage years and early adulthood and – thanks to therapy – I now absolutely know that good food needs to nourish us on ALL levels. The weather and temperature can, of course, affect our appetite. But I’m learning slowly but surely that just because it’s summer, doesn’t mean I have to eat only calorie-deficient foods. In fact, I need quite the opposite. I need nutritious, substantial and – above all – enjoyable food if I am going to get the most out of my summer. And you do too!
I hope these five tips help you get the most out of your summer. Remember, it’s okay to do things your way and take all of the social media pressure with a massive pinch of salt. I’m sure you’ll have the most fantastic summer if you keep coming back to yourself and remembering what you bring to these warmer months is totally enough.
I’d really love to know how you get on, or if any of the tips above resonate with you. Please feel free to find me over on my own blog at: www.abigailyardimci.com/muminthemoment
You can also get my first novel, Life Is Yours for FREE by signing up to my readers list at: www.abigailyardimci.com
Thank you so much to Laura for giving me this guest spot on her blog. I’ve really enjoyed writing these words for you all and hope to be back sometime soon!