Summer planning - fun or foe?

As the days get longer and summer approaches, I hope that while we plan our summer days, we also take the time to realize that summer breaks don't have to be the craziest, most wild times of the year. As long as you are doing what you enjoy/need/want to do, summer will be great! As you plan your summer break, don't forget to be realistic - but also don't be afraid to explore new interests, to make new goals, to see new places (or old ones!), and to RELAX!

As the summer is quickly approaching, it is quite exciting to think about all the wonderful things we are planning to do. You may have a list of things that you've put off, and cannot wait to get done. Perhaps you want to go on a vacation, organize your house, plan a weekend trip, read a good book, meet up with old friends, etc.

One important thing that I've learned is that this can get overwhelming if we aren't careful. Last week was like that. Everyone was discussing what they are doing over the summer, and I realized - oh no! I haven't spent nearly as much time on planning as everyone else has!

And that's okay. Because I DO know what I want to do...but I need to organize the details. When I thought about EVERYTHING at once, it was overwhelming. But when I broke things down into steps, it became a lot more manageable. For example, I know that I want to go on vacation somewhere. I'll start thinking about where. I also know that I want to take time to attend some skill conferences that will keep me engaged in patient care and clinical knowledge. I've started looking into upcoming dates for that. Another thing I plan on doing is some art (for fun), simply because I love getting creative! I'll go out shortly and buy a few crafts that I can work on during the summer.

Phew! That made me feel a lot better! Breaking it down into baby steps or tasks made planning SO much easier! I think this is a pitfall we all get into. We have SO much we want to do, and there isn't enough time (or so it seems) to do it all. Then we get overwhelmed. And tired. And frustrated. And stressed. And moody.

But when we SLOW DOWN, we can think straight. We can see that there are priorities. And we can take one step at a time, plan what we want to do, and enjoy our time all the while. One helpful tip as well is to STOP COMPARING yourself to others. Others may have grand plans to tour several countries during the summer, and this might make you feel that your humble 1-week vacation won't be so great. Or, someone might be working on a really great research project, while you are volunteering. REMEMBER: YOU NEED TO DO WHAT IS BEST FOR YOU. Don't compare your plans to others - find what you want to do with your vacation time, and plan it according to YOUR needs, resources, desires, etc. Summer is the time for you to do what YOU want and need!

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