Anna Maria Locke

5 Tips for Finding Peace in the Summer Busy Season

May 2016, 2016Anna Locke

Memorial Day weekend is upon us, humidity and thunderstorms have hit Chicago, and we're about to unofficially kick off summer 2016! Are you ready???

This year is going so fast.

May is usually the month when the CRAZY hits, and I'm sure you're feeling it. School is ending, energy is buzzing, trips and vacations are being planned, and all of a sudden the glorious relaxing expanse of summer that we envision in our minds is booked to the max.

Are your stress levels rising yet?

Last summer was crazy for us with lots of travel and moving, so this summer I'm determined to slow down and do my best to relax and enjoy life in Chicago!

5 Tips for Finding Peace in the Busy Summer Season

1. Stop multitasking your entire life away

I know, I know, we women pride ourselves on our multitasking talents and skills.

But when we're forcing our brains to jump from one thing to the next, we just create more frantic, anxious energy for ourselves. When we can focus on one thing at a time, we get into a flow and can be more productive in the present moment.

This is definitely something that I'm still practicing myself. I only have 2 tabs open on my internet browser right now though, so that's a pretty big win!

Choose one thing at a time to work on is one of the simplest ways to bring more peace and intention to your workday.

2. Practice saying NO

It's so important for us to feel empowered to say NO to opportunities that aren't important or will drain us, instead of automatically saying yes to everything out of some false sense of duty or obligation. If someone is personally offended that you're too overwhelmed to add one more event to your calendar, that's their problem, not yours!

3. Eliminate the word busy from your vocab

"How have you been doing lately?"

"Oh you know, I've just been so BUSY! Life is crazy right now!"

-Every single conversation I've had in the last 3 days

What does busy really mean to you? Is it good busy, or bad busy?

If it's good, let's say it how it really is and stop diminishing our joy so other people don't feel bad about themselves. "My life is overflowing with awesomeness right now and I'm loving every second of it!" Your positive energy will rub off.

But if your busy is bad, own up to that and cut yourself some slack! "I'm feeling a little over-worked and drained, so I'm going to have to say no to [your party/grabbing drinks/this extra volunteering opportunity] right now so I can take some time off this weekend to recharge. I appreciate your understanding!" 

Empower yourself to choose more peace and slow down, even if you're tempted to jump on the busy train ... it's ok to do life differently :)

4. Create white space in your schedule and fight for it!

So now you're starting to focus on one thing at a time, saying no to things that don't serve your priorities or energy, and eliminating the concept of busy from your life, what are you going to do??

How about nothing?

Hear me out!! As a chronic overachiever, I've always crammed my schedule with as many activities as possible. To give you the picture, by my senior year of college I was double majoring, added a new minor at the last minute, took two senior seminars instead of just one, was the president of our environmental club, played in the band, took piano lessons, ran cross country, worked as an Admissions Ambassador, peer mentored incoming freshmen, ushered at the performing arts center, was involved with SAI (a music fraternity), Phi Beta Kappa, and another service organization, and had an internship with the Fish and Wildlife Service. OH and I was taking the GRE and applying to grad schools so I could get a full ride to my next level of awesome.

AND I BURNED THE HECK OUT. It wasn't pretty. Lots of teary phone calls to my long distance boyfriend Ben, who was just trying to survive his first year of Teach for America in inner city big deal. Miraculously he somehow took me in stride. Now we're married and I know that no matter how crazy I get, he'll be able to handle it! I love youuuu Benben...

ANYWAY, the concept of intentionally scheduling WHITE SPACE into my calendar freaks me out and is still something I'm practicing, but I'm slowly learning that taking time off, even if it's just an hour on Saturday morning, with NOTHING PLANNED (nope not even chores!!) makes me such a happier person.

5. Put yourself first

So what exactly are we supposed to do when we're doing nothing in this precious white space?


Carve out time every single day to unplug and chill your brain, even if it's just 10 minutes here and there. What makes you feel good? For me, that's eating outside on the deck, journaling, getting out (even if it's a walk around the block), going to yoga, running, reading, coloring, sewing or being creative, making a yummy dinner or trying a new recipe without feeling rushed, doing my hair or make-up, or just laying on the floor in my office and staring at the ceiling for 2 minutes.

When you have a little more time like on the weekends or in the evenings, get out into the world and do something summery and fun! Have an adventure. Check out a new part of town or a new restaurant. Have a backyard BBQ with friends. Take a picnic to the beach or park. Go camping. Explore your world!

Don't worry about being productive every second of the day. The more time we take to nurture our soul, the more productive we end up being. I can't believe I can actually say this and mean it. It takes practice to flip your mindset, especially when you're a fellow Type A perfectionist, but nothing will fall apart when you pause to slow down for a second and take care of yourself.

Self care isn't selfish.

In fact, don't we owe it to our friends, family, and co-workers to show up with our BEST energy?

When we stop rushing through life, we'll be able to enjoy it so much more. And that's really the point of this whole crazy ride, isn't it?

Do you need some help or accountability putting yourself first? I know it's super hard and I'm here for you! Let me be your life coach this summer and I'll keep you on track so you can calm the heck down, enjoy life, and work on discovering your best self. 

The June Session of my Inspire Joy Challenge is opening up next week, and I am so excited to share my journey and support YOU as you're off supporting everyone else in your life. Click here to learn more!

And have a fantastic Memorial Day weekend full of peace and lots of fun. And maybe a glass or three of rose ;)

xo Anna