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Summer Priorities


For many, the Summer provides a change in routine, a slower pace, vacation time, and family time.  These can all be wonderful things, but for some of us, they can also increase our anxiety.  It is important during the summer slump to remember self-care.  This can take all sorts of forms, but one thing that often gets pushed aside for vacation or children’s camp schedules are health appointments for the parents, and particularly the primary caregiver.  This is exactly the opposite of what we should be doing!  When our stress amps up, we should lean more into basic self-care.  And, yes, going to our doctor appointments and keeping up with our health is absolutely basic self-care! 

In many ways, summer can be the perfect time to make that appointment you may have been putting off.  Even those physicians with a packed schedule and long wait-list often have cancellations happen during the summer, so be sure to get on the waitlist and check back often for availability. 

In addition to healthcare appointments (counseling included), it is important to have some down time.  As parents, we often feel the need to have every minute of the summer break scheduled for our children.  While some structure is helpful, kids need downtime, too.  Depending on your work schedule, camps can be a great alternative to traditional childcare.  But remember to plan some one on one and family time during the summer break, too.  If you have vacation time, I would encourage you to take a week and spend some quality family time together.  Maybe that is a trip to a new destination, an old favorite place, or maybe it’s a staycation.  The important common denominator is that the family is together. 

It is almost a guarantee that there will be some stress that goes along with spending time with family, but remember that it is these moments together that provide memories for a lifetime.  One day your children will tell their children about that trip to the mountains where they vomited against a glass door due to motion sickness because it would not open (yes, that actually happened).  But more than the disasters, they will talk about the fun.  The giggling and staying up late talking into the night when they were supposed to be asleep, the wipeouts on the waves at the beach, beating mom (or dad) at putt-putt, and a thousand other little moments scattered through the years.  They don’t have to be big events.  The small stuff adds up big when taken over time.   

But schedule some stress busting time, too. One of the best things you can do to reduce stress and anxiety is exercise.  Go for a walk, plan a time each day where the family gets outside and moves.  Play a game of wiffle ball, jump on the trampoline, have a swim race, but just get moving!

Remember that the level of self care and family time that you prioritize will help set the standard that your children implement in their own lives and in their own families one day.  Be a good role model!

So, be sure to embrace putting your health (both physically and mentally) and family time at the front of your priorities for the summer.  We only have 18 summers or so with our children.  Make the most of them!


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