How Not to Lose this Summer that’s Slipping By
Under a massive blue sky, mammoth cotton clouds slide shadows across the deck and my pink skin. Motorcycles hum, birds sing, and a hot wind buffets sweaty skin.
How do you make a summer stretch long? In between the jobs, park play dates, garage sale fundraisers, summer camp carpools, and youth missions trip details, how does a family make sure to savor and slow down?
He splashes happily on slick wood slats now, smacking a soaking wet towel against deck floorboards, physics and fun combined. “Mom, can I have some more water please? I dumped it all out.” Wet Spiderman underwear on a skinny four year old body battles shadows on the deck, as I run cool water into the metal bowl again.
In between the jobs, the games, and the phone calls, will you take time with me this summer to slow down? Slit and nibble hot spinach leaves from a sandy garden. Dance angry on gopher mounds with me. Plot mole murders. Grill burgers, transplant raspberries, invite friends over for home-made iced tea, and slip into swimsuits, hidden away on the deck, to nap under cottony clouds.
How do you slow down time? F. Diane Barth, a licensed clinical social worker, in her article “Can We Slow Down Time?” references neuropsychologists to state that “our brains are wired not only to recognize increments of time but also to have a certain kind of elasticity around how long any particular experience seems to last.”
So how do we slow down time, and feel more relaxed this summer? Here are four things that help me.
1.) Intentionally carve out time to relax. Don’t fill the calendar too full, and say no to some events.
2.) Make sure to do something every day that brings you joy. Whether it is gardening, biking, sunbathing, writing, reading, or having a friend over, commit to plan that into your days and weeks.
3.) Be fully present in every event. Don’t dash from one event to the next, but slow yourself to see the people beside you. Pause, listen, and be there. (This is hard for me some days.)
4.) Breathe deeply and slowly. It is scientifically-proven to slow down our muscles, heart rates, and emotions.
My four-year old? He’s in from the deck now. Plastic spoons, a metal bowl, and crumpled wet clothes are the only reminders from the deck that he was there.The puddles and splashes have evaporated and dried already in the time it took to write this and run him a warm bath. He plays happily now in his room, and the afternoon turns to suppertime.