How uplifting are summer’s gifts, whether it be extended daylight, the succulent produce harvested from local gardens, or the open invitation to commune with nature in some way?!
The strong sense of vitality that summer offers is arguably what makes it hard to say farewell to this season.
We can soften this seasonal transition by deciding to say goodbye only to summer’s physical aspects, and not to those qualities that spur a sense of aliveness.
This is possible because we have the ability to conjure up a sense of aliveness on our own, regardless of the time of year, if we make an effort.
Fortunately, there are simple ways to instantly invite greater vitality into our daily lives:
1). Do something for someone else
I have to thank the writers of Ted Lasso for inspiring this one.
I don’t want to spoil it in case some readers have yet to watch season 2, so suffice it to say…
In a recent episode, several scenes illustrate the incredible power of how focusing on another human can revitalize our own spirit, even when it is really low.
These scenes were so impactful that their heartwarming effect was palpable even with my thick-skinned teenage son who was also watching.
Obviously, we can help out another person (and thereby enrich our own life) any time of year, so if the finality of summer’s got you down, head on out and do something that will serve another.
2). Do a “Feelings Check-in”
This idea is something that I could see Ted Lasso whipping out of his coaching toolkit, but I didn’t get it from the show.
A “Feelings Check-in” is simply taking a moment or two to put your hands over your heart, enjoy a deep, cleansing breath, and observe how you’re feeling emotionally.
I emphasize that last word to clarify that this is not about your physical state, like feeling tired or hungry.
Rather, the check-in allows you to name how you’re experiencing a particular moment, e.g.: energized / purposeful / unmotivated / scared / peaceful / hopeful.
That said, there’s another point of clarification with this exercise: ALL types of feelings must be acknowledged, not just the so-called pleasant ones. Life experiences elicit a broad spectrum of feelings, so we would be remiss to discount the ones that are more painful.
The more we get in touch with our feelings, the more connected we feel. And when we have a richer sense of connection, we tend to experience life more fully.
3). Start each day with wonder
It was a game-changer for me when I made the choice to wake up each day reciting, “I wonder what will happen today.”
Getting in the habit of saying this sentence to myself was a highly effective way to increase mental flexibility. Such flexibility facilitates meeting daily challenges and unexpected events with more grace.
Ultimately, approaching each day with this mindset stirs curiosity, which is a quality that is very important to cultivate if we want to experience more vitality.
4). Welcome playfulness
This idea stems directly from one of the intangible factors that makes us love summer so much, namely, that adults are more willing to engage in play this time of year.
Simply put, when we are playful, we feel more alive.
So, if you seek more vitality, it just makes sense to invite more play into your life. Easier said than done, I know!
Ironically, making room in your life for playfulness actually starts from a mature, “adulting” behavior, not a kid-friendly activity…It evolves from giving yourself permission to engage in whatever is playful for you.
Once you grant the permission, start small if being playful is out of your norm.
Personally, I have found that just doing a little skipping is delightful. It makes me feel more carefree and youthful, which instantly infuses me with a zest for life.
If your version of playfulness also involves physical movement, I encourage you to find your pulse on your wrist afterwards. Tuning into that sensation in the body is a wonderful reminder of your aliveness.
There’s no doubt that closing out summer is a loss for many of us.
We can move into the next season of our life with ease though, if we invest some energy not simply to live, but to increase our capacity for aliveness.
The language of these two approaches to life connotes a subtle difference, but in practice, they couldn’t be more distinct.
This is vital to realize if you seek more vitality.