Summer lovin’ | The Happy + Healthy Life

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Summertime is a time to relax, slow down and oftentimes take a much needed vacation.

However, this summer is like no other. Instead of going places, we are staying home and trying to figure out this new “normal.” 

If you’re anything like me you’re trying to remember what “phase” we are in and what that even means. Not to mention at the end of summer break, the kids will have been “out of school” for close to six months and it’s been a challenge to keep them from getting restless. 

Like parents across the world, you’re trying to keep the kids busy and happy since camps and more have been canceled. 

We have been forced to create summer fun at home. Plans have been cancelled altogether or altered to fit quarantine rules. The places we were excited to visit are no longer feasible and the exciting itinerary has been put on hold. 

Having these things taken away can leave us feeling downcast and dismal. 

My family had an adventure planned to explore along the Northeast Coast. We were going to kayak in Acadia National Park, eat lobster rolls roadside, gradually make our way down to Boston, walk the Freedom Trail on the Fourth of July and explore the lighthouses and beaches of Cape Cod. Little by little, we realized this was not going to be the year to wanderlust the east coast. 

Did it make me sad? Of course! I had put a lot of time and energy into planning the trip. But, I had to look at it with a fresh new perspective. If I wanted to have a fun summer, then I must create my own summer fun right in the comfort of my own home. 

How can you have a summer escape in your own home? Start by evoking your senses to the things around you. What sights, smells, tastes, sounds and feels do you need to make your home your vacation destination? 

Look around your home and think of ways you can add signature items that you would see at your vacation spot. 

One of my clients loves visiting the white, warm sandy beaches in the Gulf of Mexico. This is her happy place. During one of our calls, she said, “The beach is so relaxing. I wish I could feel that calm and relaxed at home.” 

I asked her, “How could you bring that beach energy back home with you? How can you create that same relaxed feeling at home?” 

We brainstormed together and came up with a list of things to do at home. She decided to use shower gels and lotions that smell beachy and citrusy. When at the beach, she also loves wearing clothes that are easy breezy, so at home she is choosing to put on clothes that are soft and comfy against her skin. 

At the beach, she loves sitting outside and enjoying her meals. So at home, she decided to eat dinner with her family on their back porch. She loves sitting on the beach reading, so at home she is going to sit on the rocking chairs she never uses and curl up with a good novel. 

To bring a little bit of the Gulf Coast back to her home, she displayed white sand and seashells in a glass container and put it on her coffee table. 

Ask yourself: How can I make my environment more like the place I was planning to visit or want to visit? 

Each place you visit has its own cuisine or drink. Savor a seafood meal with a pina colada in your hand and key lime pie for dessert in Florida. Sink your teeth into a juicy peach in Georgia. Get your fingers sticky eating barbecue ribs and drink Fireball in Kansas.Get a powdered-sugared mustache eating a beignet in Louisiana. Taste the smoke while taking a bite of a brisket and wash it down with a Shiner Bock in Texas. Sip on red wine in California. 

Each state or place you travel has a distinct must-have foods and drinks. For example, one of our favorite destinations is Oregon, which is known for its delicious berries: marionberries, blueberries, mulberries, huckleberries… and my favorite, strawberries. 

The bright, red strawberries in Oregon are the freshest, juiciest ones I have ever sunk my teeth into. Just thinking of them makes my mouth water. 

What tastes and flavors can you bring into your home that are the same as the place you wanted to travel? 

Just as each place has its own distinct eats, it also has its own distinct smells. Smell the ocean breeze along the southern coasts. Take in the Ponderosa Pine aromas in the Rocky Mountains. Sniff the scent of leather and campfires out west. 

To bring your sensory smells alive, buy a candle with the smell best known for the area. When cooking your food, take in the aromas. Close your eyes and imagine yourself there. 

Engage your sense of smell. 

Next, put your ears to work. Research has shown music and certain sounds evoke emotional reactions. When we go to the beach and hear the ocean waves, we feel relaxed and calm, which reminds us of sinking our toes in the sand in Florida. 

When we listen to honky tonk, we want to clap our hands and do the two-step, which reminds us of being in Texas. 

Engage your auditory senses by pumping music that reminds you of the place you would like to be visiting. Play some soothing ocean waves if you were planning on visiting the beach. Listen to jazz if you were planning on visiting New Orleans. Pump songs from “Frozen” and “The Little Mermaid” if you were supposed to be having a magical time at Disney World. 

Turn up the volume and listen to tunes that will get your feeling like you are there. 

What you see, taste, smell and hear will make you feel a certain way. Brainstorm a list of things that would bring your vacation destination to your home and start doing them. 

Capture vacation vibes and keep that summer lovin’ alive. 

Amy is a Certified BARE Life Coach. Subscribe to her email list at amywagenknecht.com and join her Facebook Group “Amy Wagenknecht Life Coaching.”

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