Summer Plans (You and Characters)

Summer is here and who doesn’t love sunny days, shorts and ice cream, right? Okay, I know there are some of you ‘crazy’ people out there that do love the cold and snow. I am definitely not one of them. I love being warm, not wearing heavy coats and ice cream on a hot day. Let’s talk about summer plans!

But let’s move on. It’s summer and I bet you have plans, whether it’s a vacation, continuing to work, or spending time with your family.

Summer

Summer is a time of freedom, especially for the younger ones. They look forward to the time away from school, vacations, doing (almost) nothing around the house and just plain having fun.

Beach Time

Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

I know my children were ecstatic when they worked hard to get their school done early this year. (The benefits of homeschooling!) Though they still have chores, they are glad to have time to be themselves and so am I.

One thing I love to do is watch them as they create, play, or dream of what activities they want to experience next. The imagination and creativity they express is astounding when you allow it to flow. I’ve seen what happens when that is blocked from children and it’s a very sad thing to see. But we’re not here to talk about that, we’re here for Summer!

Our Summer Plans

One of our ‘traditions‘ and I say traditions because it’s something we do every year in the spring. We create a list of all the things we would like to do or experience this summer as a family. Anything anyone thinks of goes on the list no matter how big or small.

Camping

Image by Brahmsee from Pixabay

We then spend the summer trying to mark off all the things on that list.

This years list:

  • Visit The Domes
  • Go to the beach
  • Go Camping
  • Visit the Renaissance Faire (We go every year!)
  • Go to a Museum
  • Go to the zoo
  • Go to the Aquarium
  • Go on a picnic
  • Go to an ice cream shop
  • Have root beer floats
  • Play ‘Rainy Day Games’ (We each choose a board game and we play them all)
  • Bird Watching
  • Miniature Golfing
  • Disc golf
  • Bike Ride

We always have a few things that are a bit more expensive and some that may or may not cost anything at all. I’ll create a checklist that is visible to us all and hang it near our calendar. When we complete one of the activities, we check it off and at the end of the summer we look back to see all the things we’ve done as a family.

Writing

I can’t talk about the summer (or anything really) without talking about writing, and although I haven’t been my usual enthusiastic self – writing until my fingers fall off – this summer, I have not given up hope that I will return to that state sometime in the near future.

But to keep with the topic, have you ever thought of what some characters would do if they had a summer vacation? I don’t mean characters who are already on the big screens or whether the story took place in the summer, but if the character actually had a summer vacation from whatever they were doing at that moment, whether it’s a mission, job, career, or whatever. What would they do?

Teamwork

Image by rawpixel from Pixabay

What do you think some of your favorite characters would be doing to relax, have fun or just hang for longer than say a weeks time? Yes, anything can happen and we hope it does in the stories we read, but what about outside the story. If the characters were real, what do you honestly think they would be doing with the time off they were given?

Let me know the character(s), book and what you think they would be doing if they had an entire summer to do whatever they thought was fun!

Focus

Focus

Nothing gets me more irritated then when I can’t focus on what needs to get done. So, what really is focus and how to you keep ahold of it or get it back when you lose it? Let’s get right to it.

Word Focus

Dictionary.com

Wiki

  • A point at which reflected or refracted rays of light converge.
  • A point of a conic at which rays reflected from a curve or surface converge.
  • The fact of the convergence of light on the photographic medium.
  • The quality of the convergence of light on the photographic medium.
  • Concentration of attention.
  • The exact point of where an earthquake occurs, in three dimensions (underneath the epicentre).
  • The indicator of the currently active element in a user interface.
  • Most important word or phrase in a sentence or passage, or the one that imparts information.

What is Focus and Why you need it?

Eyes

We are going to focus on the ‘concentration of attention‘ meaning of the word. This is the act of concentrating your attention on any one thing. In order to focus on that one thing you must put aside the other things vying for your attention and keep trained on that one thing.

There are times when you need to get a project complete, research done, or that nagging chapter you need to finish; this is where focus is going to get you through to that last step (or to the next one). There are always times you want to stop, take a break, or quit all together. Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely times where you NEED that break, but don’t let it take hold so much that you forget why you’re trying to focus and continue in the first place. Take that break, but Keep Going, you can do it!

How to find/be focused

Cameras

Although, your mind is capable of focusing on more than one thing at a time; I mean, come on, who doesn’t love multitasking. The only problem with that is your split mind is trying to concentrate on too many things at once and you’re not getting as much as you could be getting done, complete. You need to focus on one task, goal, etc at a time in order for your focus to really work as it should.

So, in order to find focus you should concentrate on one thing at a time. The trick to it, is that you don’t move onto anything else until that one goal or task is achieved. You may want to spread your thoughts and move to more projects, but when your focus is split, it’s hard to get multiple things done.

Ways to Focus

Focus Tunnel

  • Stop Procrastinating – Get to that thing you’ve been putting off.
  • Turn off Notifications – Better yet, put the electronics in the other room so you won’t hear the phone ring or notifications from your favorite game.
  • Create a list – Stick to the most important first. – Commit to one thing at a time
  • Create Deadlines – What motivates better than having a deadline?
  • Make the Choice – You have to make the choice to focus on what, when.
  • Keep Calm and Forge On – Keep going, Forge ahead to the next goal.
  • Minimize the Noise  – As much as you can
  • Create a Plan – Stick to it.
  • Don’t compare Yourself to Others – only you know how you can do better.
  • Create a Reward System – who doesn’t like rewards for doing well?!
  • Work on Full Screen – To minimize distractions
  • Create a Routine
  • Measure Your Progress – See where you’ve come and where you want to go.
  • Enjoy the Process – Love what you do!
  • Embrace Failure – It’s going to happen, learn from it and Forge On!

Final Thoughts

So, now that you have some ways to focus in your toolbox, go and get back into the rhythm and harmony you were once at. And don’t forget to love what you do, because there is no greater feeling than rising every morning to do what you love doing the most.

Spring Break

(Spring) BREAK

March and April bring a whole new perspective to the word ‘break’. As the days wear on and things are now becoming mundane and ordinary we feel underwhelmed (or overwhelmed), uninspired, and are in need for the chance to refresh our minds and bodies. To calm the raging monster within that’s telling you it’s time to take a break from life and just relax and rejuvenate your soul.

Why You Need A Break and Why They Matter

 

working hard

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There are times when your mind and body are no longer in sync with each other, when you may be just going from day to day, doing the same things. You’re not as excited for the things you used to get pumped about and in order to get that exhilarating feeling back, you need to relax and let go of the things that are attacking you at the moment. You need to let them slide away to leave you with a clear mind.

You and your body need rest and relaxation to refresh not only yourself but your mind as well. Running on like the energizer bunny is only going to create a cranky, irritated soul with resentment and overwhelm. As with sleeping, you and your body need time to just do nothing for very little; to do something that doesn’t take a lot of thinking and something you consider fun. Not only do you need to relax, you need to preoccupy your mind with things that don’t relate with work, the house, or anything else you normally stress over.

Signs It’s Time to Take a Break

Other than just feeling like you need a break, there are signs that tell you it’s time to step away and get some much needed R&R.

Frustration

                                                                                                                                                                                          Image by punttim on Pixabay

Overwhelmed

One of the first ones, is the feeling of overwhelm. Perhaps you are trusted to do more at work, but you also have to worry about the house, the kids, and anything else that comes along that needs your attention. And although you may have a system down to take care of each item, you feel like you’re falling apart. Trust me, I have had that feeling. One minute you’re rolling along a smooth road, everything is getting done and you’re getting ahead, then something comes along and now your road is bumpy. Everything is starting to pile up and your sense of accomplishment is now a sense of dread.

Tired/Insomnia/Irritable

As with overwhelm, that smooth road brought excitement, accomplishment, and the strength to keep moving forward, but that bump you hit (who knows what that was back there) is now bringing you every other bump you would have not otherwise noticed. With all the bumps and divots, you are now feeling tired all the time. You’re no longer sleeping well and you dread getting up in the morning to even do basic things.

Things begin to irritate you, those tiny things that should be brushed off as natural habits or actions are now getting on your nerves to the point you may be snapping at those you care about. That is not the way you want to live your life, right?

No Motivation/Ambition/Unfocused

That speed racer that was forging ahead at full steam, is now searching for any reason to not continue with what has to get done. Your motivation, ambition and focus to complete tasks and get ahead seems so far away that you’ll never catch up with the trailing rope behind the train of tasks. Your mind is wandering to all the things around you, rather than those that are right in front of you, and your attention is taken up by all the little things that could be put off for another day. What once felt like an easy ride has now turned into one of struggle and a fleeting grasp at the rope. One you may not have the strength to pull yourself back up to the train.

Mistakes/Regret

When you’ve run yourself to the point where you are making small mistakes all the time, ones that you regret, but can’t really control. (You could if you weren’t suffering, but when things reach this point, it’s nearly impossible to control.) That’s when you know you need to take a break. Speaking from experience, I’ve been so overwhelmed, tired and unmotivated that I began making small mistakes that just added to the pile that was growing, which caused more mistakes, more regret and a lot of frustration. Continuing as I was, was not an option. I needed a break!

Health Concerns

This could just be eating more of your favorite junk food, or maybe you skip a meal because you’re just not hungry. Perhaps you pick up a bad habit, like smoking or drinking to make yourself feel better or to take the ‘edge’ off. (That is not going to help, trust me and it may cause further health problems) When you start making bad health choices like eating a lot or nothing at all, you refuse to get even a walk in and your body is reacting to the stress in unusual ways; that’s when you know there is something wrong and you NEED a break.

If you get this far, I urge you to take a really hard look at what you are doing and fix it. This is not where you want to be, trust me. Yes, I’m speaking from experience. I was so overwhelmed, letting everything get to me that I barely ate anything for weeks and ended up in the hospital because my body was reacting to no nourishment. I knew I needed a break and it resulted in me leaving my job. Now, I don’t suggest you leave your job, but for me it was the right decision. When your health is declining, you need to take a moment and think about whether you just need a break or you need to leave in order to get better.

 

Ways to Take a Break

The first thing you need to do is decide if you are in need a shorter or longer break. That is something you need to decide, I can’t tell you which you should choose. You should have in inkling of which you should do.

Break

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Now let me list all the ways…

_____cations

These are all the, you know, vacation types. Vacation. Staycation. Play-cation. Whether you need to get away, you want to stay in the area or at home, or if you want to do something to have fun. Do what you deem best.

Relax

Create a list of all the things you find relaxing and do them all. Take a bath, read a good book, take a nap, walk in nature, listen to soothing music, you get the picture here. Whatever you find relaxing, go for it.

Activity

Though you may not find it relaxing, there are those of us who need to move or do something. Find a way to expend the energy that is still relaxing, like taking a hike, playing a board game, fly a kite or even coloring with crayons! I love to color with my kids! That is something that is relaxing for me.

Motionless

Here is where you will sit still or hardly move, but I promise you’ll still find it relaxing. Try star gazing, watching the clouds, or even meditating or getting a massage. You never know how relaxed you’ll feel after watching the clouds as the roll by.

No Electronics

I know, I know, your whole life is on that device, but we are trying to get you to not stress and to relax. Those notifications can live without you for a short time. If you let those around you know that you’re going to be unavailable for a time, they should get along fine without you. Turn them off and find out just how much quiet and relaxation you can enjoy.

Events

Going to events or attractions can be relaxing as well. Places like the aquarium, the zoo, farmer’s market and museums can bring you peace while learning and seeing something new or what you haven’t seen in a long time.

Final Thoughts

Everyone looks forward to spring break, but have you thought about what you NEED and what kind of break you should take? If you’re like me and need some much needed R&R, try some of the things from this list. May you find peace and relaxation when you need it most.

Know of any other ways to relax and rejuvenate your mind and body? Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear them!