Things slow down in the South in the heat and humidity of the summer. It seems as if most of the rest of the country is getting a bit of the “Southern summer” experience right now and no one likes it much. I sympathize – it’s miserably hot here at the moment, with the kind of heat that smacks you hard when you walk outside. Add a high percentage of humidity and rampant pollen to the mix and yes – it’s a good idea to stay inside until sundown.
That kind of weather slows a person down and I realized that it might be a good idea to talk about self-care in the summer heat. While cold drinks and ice cream are useful arrows in your summer self-care quiver, there are other things that July is supremely good for. Chief among them – vacations.
It seems that July is the biggest vacation month, with June and August close runners-up. I suspect that is rooted in the agricultural model we still use for school calendars, where the kids are “off” from early June to late August. Americans are bad at vacations – we routinely don’t take all the days our employment allows (which is paltry compared to other developed countries, anyway) and then we work too hard to “cram lost years into five or six days,” as Jimmy Buffett has reminded us.
I’ve always found it interesting that, in French, “vacation” is plural – “les vacances.” There’s something to sit and ponder over. Preferably in a shady spot with a cold drink.
And even in the busiest of times – partway through this month, my Beloved and I moved to our new house and are still living in a style best described as “early cardboard” – you simply owe it to yourself to find small, gleaming moments of joy, grace, and care.
While not an exhaustive list (it’s been a whole month since my last check-in!), here are some things I’ve done to take care of myself since my last post.
- We did have a wonderful vacation, which was nine days of sleeping in, catching up with old friends, delicious meals, and delectable treats. It also included kayaking on a quiet lake, taking in a summer stock production of The Big Monty, and a fireworks display that would certainly be illegal in my home state. And don’t worry about documenting every little thing. Take pictures, for sure, but be sure to put the camera down and experience where you are, too.
- Made time to see the unusual, like The Garden of One Thousand Buddhas. Seek out the quirky and wacky when you’re away from home. And also when you ARE home – it’s always amazing what is right next door that we never explore.
- Got more directly involved with groups and organizations that share my values and that do good work in my community. Whether your interest is animal welfare, education, or social change – there’s a group out there for you!
- Added new things to my “list of standards” – new-to-me musical artists, new TV shows, and new foods (I’m from the South; gnocchi was a revelation!)
Stay safe in the heat, Divas! And keep growing!
(Regarding the Buffett lyric – check this out for the full story.)