Summertime and the Livin’ is Easy…or is it?
⏳ Welcome back to One-Minute-Messages: a topic explored over a morning cup of coffee ☕️…and a message you can read in a minute (or two). Visuals are stacked on the right, words to the left. Let’s go!
Snapshot: Sunshine, Surf & Sea Breezes
☀️ Summer weather has finally arrived on the British Columbia coast, and the beach in front of our house has transformed from bundled walkers and beach combers to swimmers, paddle boarders, kayakers and families camped out on colourful blankets. An active beach is a happy sight. Summer’s here and the living is easy and uncomplicated. Or is it?
✨ I subscribe to the meditation app Breethe, and as such, receive regular messages from the Breethe wellness team. A recent post “Are ‘summertime blues’ real, Teresa?” (substitute my name with your own…) caught my eye. Curious, I read on.
Seems that too much of a good thing—”too much downtime, or unstructured time, can actually make an anxious brain, well, even more anxious.”
The post likens routine and regular habits to “guardrails for the anxious brain” (brilliant analogy)… and goes on to explain that routine is soothing because our brain doesn’t have to work as hard to figure out what it needs to do each day.
This is not to suggest we stick to our cool weather routines. No, we create new routines. We structure our summer fun.
Snapshot: Autism Awareness
🗣 This tip—familiar to me, but I am always appreciative of a refresher—takes me to living with autism and parental support strategies. As such, I read the article to my adult son, Erik, 24, with autism.
“It’s true!” he nods, “too much free time stresses me. Remember recess when I was young? Awful. Play is work. Work is play.”
Over the years we’ve learned from the uneasiness of untethered summer days. In the past, when Erik was a boy, we’d schedule summer camps and programs and dovetail home fun. Now that Erik is 24, I turn the summer structuring over to him.
“Take a sticky note and plan your day, Erik. On days you’re not volunteering, think about creating daily pillars around activities that bring you joy and calm: something to inspire you (read or listen to), something to create (food, perhaps), something to soothe (gardening, walking, hiking, paddling in nature).”
Once sketched out, Erik can relax. “Free your mind and write it down,” his poppa used to say. It works.
It’s easy to assume that summer living will be easy living. Not for all. And each of us, in our own style, can benefit from some degree of structure and purpose—guardrails for the summer soul.
🇨🇦 Happy Canada Day and happy summer to all from Canada’s west coast. 🌊🏔
* Teresa Hedley is the author of What’s Not Allowed? A Family Journey with Autism, a memoir which takes you into the headspace of a parent managing a dynamic household and what it’s like to parent a child with autism—and also be on the move across Canada. Tips, strategies and points to ponder are embedded in stories, vignettes and retrospectives.