How to make your free time feel utterly restorative

Summer's almost in its wind down phase which means the time to eat a perfectly ripe peach or go to an outdoor movie is now or next year. If you're having trouble prioritizing a summer slow down, here are some easy-peasy ways to make sure you enjoy the best thing that summer offers: time.


You know what the summer antidote to multitasking is? Mono-tasking. Whether you're at home or on vacation, tackle only one thing at time. Devote all your attention to packing a picnic, swinging in a hammock or collecting seashells. (The same principle applies at the office, too, but let's not talk about work right now...) When your attention's not pulled in twenty different directions, you'll be able to more fully be present in the moment and really enjoy it.

Summer has a tendency to get quickly packed with plans, but it's important to leave yourself time to indulge your whims. Make certain times sacred--Wednesday evening, say, or Saturday afternoon--when even an invitation from the Queen Mum gets a polite no so that you can be alone, take a nap, or just stare out a window. If you've long neglected time for yourself this summer, maybe you need to schedule a night away just by yourself. Vacations don't have to be fancy to do their job. How about something as simple as checking into a hotel with a hot tub and ordering in sushi? Or packing up the tent and spending a night under the stars alone?


The Italians have a phrase for this, "il bel far niente," or "the beauty of doing nothing." It's a concept that's hard for most of us in our go-go-go world to master, but give it a whirl. When you walk in the door after work, sit down in your favorite chair. Breathe in and out. Listen to the sounds of your house, and the sounds of the neighborhood outside. Ten minutes has a way of flying by when we're running around. But somehow, when we slow down, the clock seems to, too.

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