on the beach

The Summer of No Vacation Plans (and being okay with it)

Sometimes, having no vacation plan leads to the best-laid plans!

As we are nearing the middle of June, it’s time for parents to start thinking about Summer and that means summer plans. How are you feeling about it? Have you checked in with yourself lately to see how your energy reserves are?

Depending on your situation, you may be working during many of the summer months, and only have a few weeks off for vacation time. Perhaps, you are self-employed and have some more flexibility with your work hours, or you may be a full-time stay-at-home parent.

Either way, we sometimes have some big expectations for summer schedules and you are probably starting to make plans or at least starting to think about plans. We all have different styles for our summer planning, do you make loose plans, or do you like to have your vacation weeks planned out well in advance?

This year, there may be an element of your plan-making that you hadn’t felt before. I am talking about exhaustion. Many of us are still slowly recovering from the Pandemic, and still feeling burnt out. Summoning the energy to think about this task, let alone make plans can be draining.

You might even be in this position where you can’t move past the thinking/planning stage, as the doing stage can seem downright too much right now.

One of the worst parts is that we have had so much time over the last couple of years to sit and daydream about all the things we previously did with time off like taking a road trip with family and remembering all the different places you stopped at along the way, the places you stayed, and the things you did. You also remember though that those trips might have required a lot of stamina and energy, and don’t think that you’ll be able to pull yourself together to make that happen this summer.

Then come the thoughts of the stress of financial constraints, this year might have to have to be a staycation. A good hanging about at home for the summer kind of year. But, this also requires some kind of planning to make sure that the family is entertained. It’s easy to envision the ideal summer where you’re all hanging out together and having lots of fun, but just as much as you do not have the motivation to plan a big trip, you know that you haven’t got a lot of motivation or energy for planning the small things for a staycation.

This might just be where we let the feeling of guilt start to creep in and it is all because you know that you haven’t got much in you to give to anything extra right now. There only seems to be room for the basics of living and taking care of your family.

I am here to tell you, that letting the guilt take hold of you won’t serve you in the least. What if you were to reframe your thinking around your situation and be open to allowing this summer to unfold more loosely while intending to be open to experiencing the smaller but meaningful memories that are awaiting you?

What you can do 

My option A
Instead of feeling bad that you don’t have the energy to plan weeks of fun-filled crafts and excursions, think about how you can make loose plans that fill your cup and your family’s cup too. On the days you feel energized, seize the day and act on those small plans you daydreamed about.
As you have the energy here and there start a list of day-trip plans and activities that you can pick up on a whim. Things you do not need to purchase in advance. Then you can head back to this list and pick something out.

list and flowersMy option B
For the days that you do want to plan out make the plans loose so that if you don’t feel up to them that day, know that they can be carried forward to another day when you have the energy to take it on!
These can be days like a beach day, heading to the zoo, or taking a trip to an ice cream shop. These days are easily changed around for a time that better suits you.

My option C
Another option is simply letting the days unfold as they may. On a lazy, hazy day you could ask your child to join you outside to eat popsicles together. Or maybe you could set up a picnic blanket outside and have lunch under a tree.
These easy flowy days lead to some of the best fun!

What is important!

A key component to this is to remind yourself that it’s okay if you don’t have the energy to pack all sorts of fun things in the day for your family this summer. Take some of the pressure off of yourself, and remember that summer can also be a time of slowing down, soaking up the sunny and rain moments, and enjoying the relaxation time together.

 

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