Summer Inspiration: The True Purpose of Summer

summer inspiration

Today’s big idea is that summer is about way more than sun, swimming, and barbecues. It’s about refilling your well after a long winter and a chilly, rainy spring. And that’s doubly, ESPECIALLY true after a pandemic winter!! Knowing that this season is really about restoration will help you find some ‘summer inspiration’ to truly recuperate from a hard, nutty year. 

You may be thinking, but I thought summer was about rose, white shoes, and tank tops! I am not dismissing those things. But they’re just scratching the surface in terms of the true purpose of summer.

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Think about it:

Throughout our existence, winter access to food was slim and by spring time we were just eking by. Summer’s abundance was a time for us to replenish the nutrients and calories we hadn’t been able to take in for several months. All those berries and fruits and squashes and beans that flourish in the summer are perfect for refilling our depleted store before winter rolls around again. This reality only began to change 100 years ago, when refrigeration and train transport made it possible to make food grown locally last longer and food grown in warmer climates to be shipped north. 

On a deeper level, summer is about nourishing yourself back toward wholeness. Spending time outside, working less, and slowing down all give you a chance to catch up to yourself. The sun is shining and so are we, in our white shoes and tank tops, lol, but if we aren’t restoring ourselves we can dry out–literally and figuratively–like a lawn that hasn’t been watered. It’s time to send some nutrients to our roots and remember how we love to spend our time, and who we love to spend it with. 

It might seem silly that I’m devoting an episode to slowing down during summer

Like it should be obvious. But too many of us don’t take full advantage of this season, as evidenced by the fact that 55% of Americans don’t take all their allowed vacation days. That’s 658 million days of vacation untaken. 658 million. I know the gig economy and the creep of work into our personal lives–I know it really well, having worked for myself since 2005–makes it hard to do but, I am imploring you to take any and all vacation days available to you during these next 12 weeks so that you have some more space in your life to do what replenishes you. 

You don’t have to take days off of work and completely shift out of your normal routines to take advantage of summer (although if you can make it work–do it!!!). You can simply choose to look at the things you do on a daily basis view the lens of, is this depleting me, or is this filling me up? Kind of like kids can soak up a new language when they are little and their brains are still developing, all humans can absorb a replenishment of energy without a lot of effort during the summer. 

Think, reading a book under a tree, eating meals outside (we call outside breakfast al bresco in our family), puttering around in the yard, spending time at the beach with friends…all these simple pleasures are really potent ways to unwind and recharge. 

Summer is also a great time to put some conscious effort toward relaxing

Which might sound like a paradox, but like most good things, relaxation doesn’t generally happen by accident. You’ve got to clear some space and set the condition and do the things that foster it. Last week, I shared things that can help you enter the physiological state of relaxation, and broke them down into things you can do in 5 minutes or less, 20 minutes or less, or–if you have time to go deeper–an hour or so. Go back to episode 452 and give those episodes a listen if you need some guidance on what to do. Especially this summer we need to recuperate. 

Daily Tiny Assignment

Your tiny assignment is to make a quick little ‘summer inspiration list’ of simple summer pleasures that make you feel like you just took a vitamin for your spirit. And to look at your calendar, if you haven’t already, and pick when you’ll take as many vacation days as you can. Even if you don’t have plans to go away, if you create that boundary, I promise you will find something just right to put in that spot, even if it means just reading for a few hours or going on a walk with a friend. 

Come back tomorrow, when I’m talking building this idea and sharing the key to making sure that you actually do all the things you love about summer. 


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