Make relaxation an everyday habit this summer (even if you’re not on holidays)

I’ve been trying not to use the word BUSY lately.

It’s too easy to use BUSY as an excuse not to do things. Let’s assume we are all busy.

There’s something about the first week of summer that makes me feel excited. It’s not particularly my favourite season (I’m looking at you, Fall!) but schedules change in the summer, and there’s the urge to do things a little differently…to take advantage of the good weather.

My challenge to you is, what are you going to do this summer to nourish your soul?

Sure, there will be family time, patio time, beach time, vacation time…but what do you want to do for relaxation? It doesn’t require a day at the beach to chill out for a few minutes…and it can be a lot less stressful to plan for a little bit of “me time” each day, as opposed to the planning that goes into the big activities.

I’ve got a list of suggestions for you, based on what I love to do. My list if biased towards “at home” activities that are cost-conscious (especially if you use your local library). Feel free to steal some of mine!

Read a good fiction book:

I’m trying to get in the habit of sitting on the sofa and opening a book in the evening, instead of watching Netflix. I find classical music makes it easier for me to focus on what I’m reading. As the weather gets warmer, I’m taking my reading out to the balcony (we live in a condo), with a glass of rosé to sip on.

Here are some of my favourite books that I’ve read over the past few months:

  • The Chaperone – Laura Morirty
  • Where’d You Go, Bernadette? – Maria Semple
  • The Vacationers – Emma Straub
  • In the Unlikely Event – Judy Blume
  • The Nightingale – Kristin Hannah
  • The Lake House – Kate Morton
  • Brooklyn – Colm Toibin
  • All the Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr

Listen to an audio book:

Before I started working from home, I listened to a lot of audio books while I drove to work. I tried to choose something inspirational and something that would help me grow. I especially love hearing the authors read their own words. It adds to the experience.

I haven’t listened to all of these as an audio book, but if I were going on a road trip, these are the books I would be downloading:

  • Playing Big – Tara Mohr
  • Year of Yes – Shonda Rhimes
  • Yes Please – Amy Poehler
  • BossyPants – Tina Fey
  • Broken Open – Elizabeth Lesser (not narrated by author)
  • Big Magic – Elizabeth Gilbert
  • When Breath Becomes Air – Paul Kalanithi (author passed away before book was finished)

Create a summer-time soundtrack:

I love listening to music, instead of turning on the TV for background noise. I recently discovered the Spotify app, and I’m in love!

You can have a free account, and you get to stream as much music as you want. I like searching by artist, but I also loving the playlists that have been curated by music lovers of all genres. For example, if I want background music while I’m working I put on the Deep Focus playlist (no lyrics). There are also some great meditation-style playlists to put on while you sit on the patio, watching the sunset.

For kitchen dancing…try any of the Beyoncé play lists!

Learn something from a podcast:

I’m a podcast junkie. After my husband and I went down to sharing one car, I love listening to podcasts while I’m on public transit. I also turn on a podcast while I’m getting ready in the morning.

If you are new to podcasts, you will most likely need to download an app that will store your podcasts for you. For iPhone users, go to the App Store and search “podcasts” and download the Podcasts app by Apple (it’s free). Once you’ve downloaded the app, you can search by topic or look at the list of their most popular podcasts. Apple usually features a special section for if you are new to podcasts, recommending various podcasts in each category.

Note for trying out a new podcast: the first few episodes are usually a little rough (in terms of production quality). The episodes improve after that!

Here’s a few of my favourites:

  • TED Radio Hour
  • Modern Love
  • Magic Lessons
  • Insatiable
  • Death, Sex & Money
  • Tara Brach

Try something new:

Want to feel calmer? Use the early morning light to wake up 10 minutes earlier and spend some time journaling. Or, go for an after-dinner walk with your family.

Want to feel challenged? Try a new activity (day hike, stand-up paddle-board, etc.) or take a class (check with your local recreation centre for their summer schedule).

Want to feel more connected? Aim for one date with a friend each week. Meet up on a patio somewhere, for a walk on the beach, or even just chat on the phone to debrief on a good book you both just read.

Your Challenge This Summer:

Each day, try to aim for one thing that makes you feel like you had a mini-holiday. Even just 10 minutes can make all the difference. Build in larger blocks of time a couple days each week.

Don’t save it all up for your holidays, because as lovely as they are, it’s stressful getting ready to go and often depressing to get back to “reality” after. Sow seeds to nourish your soul in the small moments, and I guarantee you’ll feel a whole lot happier.


Pssst…want more tips for taking better care of yourself? Grab your free Secondhand Therapy eBook, Start Investing in Your Emotional Wellbeing: 25 Practical Tips for Moving Past Survival Mode. Just enter your info below…


Relaxation for everyday this summer