Almost two decades ago, a mentor gave me a piece of advice that has stuck with me since:
Slow down your life, at least a little bit, during the summer months.
This advice was delivered while I was living in Vermont, a place known for its harsh winters and beautiful summers (and gorgeous Fall colors). And so it made perfect sense that we’d make a point to enjoy the wonderful weather while it was around.
But while the advice was given in a specific climate, it resonated with me on a deeper level, and I think it holds relevance for everyone, regardless of where you live.
Even today, living in Phoenix, in the desert, the principle is something I practice: Slow down, at least a little bit, during the summer months.
Summer offers a wonderful opportunity to ease our pace, recharge our batteries, and reconnect with what truly matters. This isn’t advice about completely stopping our work or responsibilities; rather, it’s about dialing back, shifting gears, and making room for moments that can enrich our lives.
If you’re someone who clocks in long hours at work every week, this advice is particularly for you—especially if you have children at home.
But really, anyone can benefit from the spirit of slowing down—be it using your vacation days, leaving earlier in the afternoon, extending your weekend, or just not taking on a new project at work.
Here are seven compelling reasons why we should all embrace a slower summer pace:
1. To Enjoy the Good Weather
Let’s be honest, the warm weather just calls us to be outdoors.
Research suggests that being outdoors can improve mental health, increase vitamin D levels, and reduce stress. But we can’t reap these benefits if we’re cooped up indoors working all the time.
2. To Connect with Family
Most parents get only 18 summers with their children before they grow up. That’s not a lot of time.
Summer offers precious moments to connect with our children, create memories, and strengthen our familial bonds. Some of my most lasting memories with my parents occurred during summer months.
They won’t be little forever. Make this summer count.
3. To Leverage the Longer Days
Summers gift us with more daylight hours, providing the perfect backdrop for relaxed, unhurried evenings.
It’s the best time to sit on your porch, ride bikes with your kids, take a stroll with your spouse, spend time with neighbors, go get some ice cream, or attend your kids’ t-ball game.
Embracing these slower moments can boost our mood and improve our overall well-being.
4. To Find a Natural Rhythm to the Year
We’re often so engrossed in our work and routines that we lose touch with the natural rhythms of life.
Slowing down in the summer, picking up pace in the fall, taking a short break during the holidays, and then pushing hard through the spring—this cycle mirrors the ebb and flow of nature.
Aligning with this rhythm can bring a sense of balance and harmony to our lives.
5. To Reevaluate and Reorient Our Lives
Slowing down creates space for reflection, a chance to evaluate our priorities, and align our actions with what matters most to us. The typical hustle and bustle of life often leaves little room for introspection.
Slowing down during the summer gives us the opportunity to step back, assess our life’s trajectory, and make necessary adjustments.
6. To Reconnect with Friends
With vacations and social gatherings, summer is also a great time to reconnect with friends.
These social interactions play a crucial role in promoting emotional health.
Sometimes they are expensive outings, but they don’t need to be. Frisbee in the park can be just as rejuvenating as a week on the beach.
7. Summer provides an opportunity to learn and grow.
Slowing down a bit during the summer, with its more relaxed pace, offers an opportunity to invest time in personal growth. This could mean reading that book you’ve put off, learning a new skill, or even starting a hobby.
By dialing back, we can dedicate a portion of our time to self-improvement that might get neglected during the busier times of the year. And the best part? This learning can occur while we’re lounging on the porch, chilling in the backyard, while on vacation, or sipping lemonade with a friend at the park.
So, whether you’re a parent eager to create lasting memories with your kids, a hard worker needing a break, or just someone who wants to enjoy the beauty of summer, slowing down could be your ticket to a more fulfilling season.
This summer, trade speed for stillness and schedules for sunsets.