In the US, Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of the summer season.
At iCan Dream Center NFP, we have this week off as we leave behind the pace of the traditional school year and transition into our summer session.
With the long days and warm weather, summer is also the perfect opportunity to work on your personal and professional development.
But like Michelle Obama once said, “at the end of the day, my most important job is still mom-in-chief.”
As a parent of two young children, her words hit very close to home.
Self-development is often a challenging task amidst all of the summer sports leagues, camps, weekend getaways, vacations, family reunions…(you get the picture).
And over the years, I’ve learned a few things that can help any busy parent make time for personal growth during the summer season:
1. Reflect and set goals: Before the chaos is underway, take some time to reflect on your achievements and areas where you want to improve. Set meaningful goals for the upcoming months and outline actionable steps to achieve them. Use the summer season’s positive energy as fuel to drive you toward your aspirations.
2. Delegate: Part of being a great leader is delegating, and one of the best strategies that I learned as a leader was to determine my hourly rate and determine if the task at hand was worthy of my time. There is no compensation for parenting. However, many “to-dos” (e.g. cleaning, bill payments) can be automated or delegated to simplify your life and add more time to your schedule.
3. Dive Into Reading: You can travel miles with just a book. A good read not only transports you to new worlds, but also inspires fresh perspectives, expands your knowledge, and enhances creativity and critical thinking skills. I’m an avid reader, but this passion usually takes a back seat to parenting and increasing work demands. I plan to take advantage of the extra sunlight by committing to a short, yet carefully curated summer reading list with a mix of fiction, non-fiction, and self-improvement books. Recommendations are welcome in the comments below!
4. Make (Grown-up) Playdates: I LOVE catching up with friends over the summer over a rooftop, appetizers, a refreshing beverage, and meaningful conversation. Don’t underestimate the power of social interaction (in whatever way energizes you the most). Prioritizing these connections and making time for fun will give you something to regularly look forward to and help you power through when the daily slog gets challenging.
Making time for fun will give you something to regularly look forward to and help you power through when the daily slog gets challenging.
5. Enjoy Nature: Embracing the outdoors is one of my favorite self-care activities that’s also great for mental clarity. Though I run outside pretty much year-round rain or shine, summer is more predictable, green, and quite frankly just more pleasant. Getting outside is also a great and inexpensive way to spend time with the family. I’m excited to tour forest preserves, ride bikes, hike, and more with my kids this summer!
6. Learn Something New: Step out of your comfort zone with a new challenge that will enhance or complement your expertise. Enroll in a summer course, attend workshops, explore new hobbies, or volunteer for a special cause. Continuous learning is key to personal growth and summer is a great season to lean in and push your boundaries and stay ahead of the curve.
Whether or not you’re a parent, personal development is a continuous journey, and the summer season offers a unique chance to focus on your growth. That is what makes life worth living. The routines are critical, but I hope this will give you something to be excited about. I know I’ll be taking advantage of the warmth, sunshine, and abundance of opportunities this season brings.
Here’s to making the most of it! ☀️