This summer

This is my short list of goals for this summer. I’m still taking quarantine very seriously, so my summer plans don’t involve much going out around other people, aside from my boyfriend who I’ve been quarantining with. But I’m not worried, I think we’ll still have a great summer.

Pick our own produce. Upick is kind of the perfect socially distanced activity. You drive right in and out of the fields in your own car, and there’s plenty of open space to wander away from other people. Our local farm is pretty huge and offers tons of different fruits and veggies to pick like raspberries, peppers, cherries, zucchini and much more.

Kayak as much as possible. A couple years ago we invested in our own kayaks and a big fancy rack to transport them on our car. I think it’s one of the best investments we’ve ever made. Living in Metro Detroit, we’re close to lots of lakes and rivers, so there’s always a new spot to explore. I really can’t think of a better way to spend a warm summer day than cruising down a river in my own little boat.

Take a couple trips up north. My family has a condo on Lake Huron with a really nice, big beach that’s nearly always empty, making this another perfect quarantine activity. All I want to do when I’m up there is lay on the beach, go swimming, eat lots of snacks, and maybe go for a hike—all perfectly easy things to do while avoiding other humans. Plus, the trip up there is only 3 hours, so we don’t even need to stop for bathroom breaks (as long as we watch our beverage intake!)

Take care of our garden and use our fresh produce. Right now we’re growing squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, bell peppers, rosemary, parsley, and garlic. I can’t wait for the plants to start fruiting and to cook with all this lovely, fresh produce. We have SO many tomato plants right now—I think I’ll work on perfecting a salsa recipe this summer.

Launch my Etsy shop for printable planner pages. I’ve been slowly working away at creating some printable planner pages for like…over a year now. I tend to really take my time when it comes to personal projects like this, but I’m happy to say this one is almost ready to launch!

Spring>summer mental health check in

Summer turned on over the weekend. It miraculously happens every year during Memorial Day weekend. Our chilly and overcast days became hot and sunny overnight.

Incidentally, my mood also made a major switch. I felt GOOD this weekend. Like, the best I have in months. I felt happy and had plenty of energy to do a bunch of stuff on what would normally be a lazy weekend day. It’s all tied to the sun, I’m sure. I feel like an extra fussy houseplant. I need plenty of direct sunlight or I wilt.

It really makes no sense that I live in one of the top 10 cloudiest states in the US.

The nice weather has meant I’m spending a lot more time outside, which is a mood booster for me even in less sunny weather. I’ve been either going for a run or a walk every day this month, and spending tons of time out on the front porch reading, scrolling on my phone, or just hanging out with a cup of coffee.

This is good for me. I need to keep it up so I can get the most out of these short summer months.

Summer>fall mental health check in

I don’t know about you, but when the seasons change, my anxiety always goes into overdrive. I live in Michigan, where the weather fluctuates like crazy on a good day, so the season changes can be a real (not fun) roller coaster.

I really started getting in tune with how much the weather affects my mental health when I started using a mood tracking app called Daylio. Every day I track how my mood was on a scale from awful to rad, along with activities I did that day and other emotions I felt: relaxed, motivated, weird, etc.

It’s been really informative to see the patterns that show up in my weekly / monthly / yearly mood cycles. I’ve been using it since early 2017, so I have some pretty solid data to work with now, and the app organizes my stats into handy little charts, making it easy to see that my mood takes a clear dip around April and then again in September/October.

This year, my mood has been a little more even each month, without really severe highs and lows, which is great progress! I still feel that extra prickle anxiety this time of year, but I’ve been able to bounce back a little quicker since I’ve learned to prepare for it.

Here’s what I’m doing to keep from getting knocked down by my mood during this season change:

  • Keep spending time outside and soaking up all the sun I can, even though the weather is getting colder
  • Make plans with friends to do fun things and get out of the house so I don’t get stuck in a couch vortex of sadness
  • Maintain my exercise and healthy eating routine because endorphins are magic!
  • Lean into the season change and stop expecting the weather to behave. Surprise 90 degree day in the middle of a chilly week? Put those shorts back on and lay out in the sun while you still can! A sudden cold and rainy day after a week of sunshine? Light those pumpkin spice candles and get cozy with a book inside!

Any one else struggle with season changes? I’d love to hear what you’re doing to cope/thrive in these challenging times.

Summer is over

Ok, so I forgot to post for kind of a while. It’s fine though—summer is busy and sometimes I can’t stand being glued to a computer while the sun is busy making the outdoors delightful.

I’m back here to tell you I made a playlist for the month of September that I think is quite good. Summer is over. I don’t know about you, but I have a lot of feelings about that. This playlist is an outlet. Let’s thank summer for filling us with extra dopamine and then throw it in the trash so we can make room on our shelves for fall.

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