Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth yoga, fitness, & nutrition courses, when you sign up for Outside+.
Summer days can be filled with beautiful adventures: vacations, outdoor yoga, mountain hikes, drinks on patios. However, if you’re stuck indoors or at the office, being reminded of friends’ vacations or the gorgeous weather outside can make for comparisons that zap your joy. If you’re starting to notice the dog days of summer wearing on you, get back into a space of gratitude and positivity with the following five steps.
1. Describe one of your best qualities … to yourself.
Are you the one your friends always turn to when they need advice? Is every project that you tackle something you proudly give your all to? Is your optimism always helping to cheer others on? Spend time really thinking about the things that you do well and that you feel good about, or something about your personality that helps others. Remembering your own positive attributes doesn’t always come naturally—it’s much easier to focus on mistakes, areas you could improve, or awkward moments—but push yourself to acknowledge the things that make you the best version of who you are.
2. Share kindness with someone else.
When life feels boring, or doesn’t measure up to the “perfect” images we see of others—which of course are often not the whole picture—the best feel-better solution is often to focus on someone else who is in need. Donate money to an organization that is doing work you care about, share your lunch with a homeless stranger, or offer to help a friend who could use a hand. Often just the act of helping someone in need is enough to snap yourself out of the mode of comparison and negative thinking and help you connect with your gratitude and compassion.
3. Treat yourself to something special.
If you’re imagining a future in which you’ll have stunning vacation photos, a more flexible job, or more time outdoors, it might be the perfect time to splurge on a treat for yourself. Schedule a massage, pick out a new perfume, or take a long bubble bath filled with your favorite essential oils. The best way to feel like your life is special and filled with beautiful moments is to infuse these treats into your usual routine.
4. Get out of your comfort zone.
Sometimes, shaking up your routine is the best way to get out of a summer rut! Do something that takes you beyond the edges of the familiar, whether that means enrolling in a new class at a local art studio, visiting a museum, or chatting with a stranger at your local cafe. Just beyond the box of your normal day is a wide world of challenging, thought-provoking experiences that will make each moment seem more exciting.
5. Dream about the future.
So often, we get caught up in the motions of daily life and go from one thing to another without pausing to catch our breath. Kids need to be picked up from school, dinner needs to be prepped, meetings need to be planned. Take a break from that racing around to engage with your dreams for the future. On a sheet of paper that you can save, let yourself answer the following questions: (1) Five years from now, where would you like to be? (2) When you think about success, what do you see? (3) What is one goal you’d like to focus on in the next year? Allowing yourself the space to dream and create is often exactly what you need to stay inspired.