Memorial Day is upon us, and if you think preparing for summer is as simple as whipping out your white jeans and stocking up on sunblock, then perhaps Mr. Heat Miser has already gotten to you… melting your brain into a puddle of listless, lazy-hazy-dazy cells.
Once upon a time, summer was a snap, and the only stressors you had to deal with was trying to find a dry swimsuit to wear to the pool or finding a missing flip flop. But as an adult with a day job, offspring (if you’ve got ’em), a couple of pets (ditto), and about a zillion other 24/7 obligations (ok, we all have THAT), summertime tends to boil down to a hot mess of schedule-shifting chaos.
They call it a break, which unfortunately can be quite literal. As in break your spirit, if you’re not careful.
With that in mind, here are 7 ways to get yourself ready for a kick ass summer:
1) Make yourself a super fun schedule: Why should the children have all the summer excitement? Think back to the joys of camp — one of the best parts was having a boatload of activities to do every single day that kept the routine fresh, enjoyable, and a welcome break from the normal school year grind. So here’s a good idea: be your own camp director, and calendarize activities that you can look forward to. I’m talking about beach days, sailing/waterskiing/boating, going swimming, hiking, doing an art or craft project, playing tennis or other outdoor sport you enjoy, and even taking a nice, phat middle-of-the-day break for general recreation where you can sit on your ass and play jacks if that’s what you want to do. (And OF COURSE that’s what you want to do… that’s what I want to do anyway.)
2) Buy a new swimsuit, now: At least where I live, Memorial Day is late in the season to grab a new suit. Normally I give up at this point, and then inevitably the first day I hit the pool or the beach, I’m bummed about my stretched out, slouchy old suit. Lucky for all of us, shopping online is such a snap — so even if your local store is down to its last picked over selection, you have no real excuse for not getting yourself all dolled up for summer.
3) Take 5 minutes a day to exercise: You heard me — just 5 minutes a day to a rockin’ beach bod! My BBF started a “100 a day” group on Facebook, and last month she asked if I could keep it going. I did… but it meant that I stuck to the regimen of doing 100 sit-ups and 2 minutes of planks per day. It very literally takes 5 minutes, and I’m already seeing buffer arms and a tighter tummy. And while I don’t have any delusions OR really any major desire to have a 6-pack, I’m feeling confident about stripping down to my skivvies and letting it all hang out for summer. (Thanks to both that 5 minutes a day AND the fact that I really am totally positive about my [mom] bod.)
4) Relax the pack: Second only to doing laundry, packing is the bane of my existence. But I’ve been getting the young’uns ready for camp and family vacations long enough to know a little pre-pack goes a long way. I have a stock of labels I use that have my kids’ name on it (from LabelDaddy — this is not a plug, just a tip that worked for me), and so leading up to them going away, I will slap labels on clothing as I fold laundry. That way I’m all set to throw those suckers into a duffle bag when the time comes to get them ready for camp. I also do a pre-summer bathroom cabinet clean out, where I assess old sunblock and bug repellent, and compile a good collection of sample size shampoos, conditioners, body wash, etc., so assembling toiletry bags is a snap. Sure, I have a mild case of housework addiction, but at this time of year, it goes an especially long way.
5) Get tickets now to see live music: From the everything old is new again files, the biggest touring acts this summer sound like summer 1986: AC/DC, Van Halen, NKOTB(!), No Doubt, Def Leppard, Madonna, and of course, Neil Diamond. Not that you have to see an “oldies” acts to enjoy summer tunes — even your local outdoor mall probably has a concert series. Nothing says summer more than listening to music outside on a balmy night.
6) Book it: While this could certainly be code for all that has to be done to get ready for a summer getaway, hopefully that’s all taken care of by now. I mean get your summer reading list together — dust off that stack o’ books, sign up for Kindle Daily Deals if you’re an eBook reader (again, not a plug, just a tip), take a trip to the library, or otherwise stake your reading claim. I have a stack of Vanity Fair mags waiting to go to the beach, and I recently downloaded the entire A Song of Fire and Ice Series (4,272 pages). If you’re looking for great suggestions for what to read this summer, head over to GoodReads and check out their Listopia section. I’m so ready to get lost in screwed up worlds of other people’s making — it’s my favorite summertime “sport.”
7) Take a little staycation to get ready for summer vacation. Planning a full-on summer o’ fun is so draining that it’s likely you’ll need a vacation before you even get started. So clear the decks for an afternoon, pull out those unused gift cards for a massage/pedicure/facial that you have from your birthday… two years ago… and go get rubbed, scrubbed, or otherwise prepped for summer. Then come home and power down your electronic devises and take a nice long nap. Finally, pour yourself a margarita (or two, or more), light a beach-scented candle, and sit back and enjoy the dawn of your summer vacation.
So if you see me kicking back in a hammock, just know that’s the kind of kick I’m talking about to plan a kick ass summer!