Summertime is here! A long awaited season for so many of us. Your calendar may be filled with camps, activities with family and friends, and upcoming vacation dates. Or you may be of the mindset to not have a lot scheduled and instead appreciating the extra downtime so that you can relax and recharge. Regardless of plans, this summer can be viewed as an opportunity for us to not only strengthen relationships with others, but a time that we can improve the relationship with ourselves.
Dare to Dream
As kids, many of us were asked to think about what we wanted to be when we grew up. During these conversations, all ideas were encouraged and the sky was the limit. Envisioning what we wanted to do with our future may have brought about feelings of happiness and even a sense of wonder. In adulthood, can you remember the last time someone asked about your own hopes for the future? Or a recent time that you have allowed yourself to just dream about what you want out of life? For many reasons, it can be a challenging exercise for adults to complete! By giving ourselves permission to do this exercise, we can benefit in various ways, such as increased creativity, improved mood and feelings of hopefulness, as well as enhanced motivation and productivity. Here are some ideas on how you can structure this activity:
Start with a short amount of time: Try to spend about 5-10 minutes a week just allowing yourself to dream about your hopes and wishes. Given your busy schedule, this may be all that you are able to allot to this activity and that is perfectly fine. The goal is to help you feel inspired and energized. If you find yourself having more than 5-10 minutes, feel free to make this activity longer.
Let go of constraints while brainstorming: It is time to channel your inner child! Allow yourself to not put limitations on your ideas and let them flow naturally. In other words, try not to label them as “not realistic.” By doing this, you can help yourself tap into your authentic self and core values. While there are many ways to generate ideas, you may find it helpful to use a journal, vision board app, or writing ideas down on your phone.
Strive for reflection rather than judgment: When looking at your list, it can be helpful to approach this from a place of curiosity. Are there certain items listed that really stand out to you? If you happen to be talking with someone about a topic on your list (or talking with yourself), notice how your body feels. Do you feel energized or more relaxed? While engaging in reflection, you may find that your inner critic is trying to take center stage and tell you that your ideas are not feasible. It is possible, however, to tackle those doubts head on and not let them creep in and derail the activity. Which leads us to our next step in the activity.
Look for ways to maintain momentum: Your hopes and dreams matter. Rather than seeing your list of ideas as more “things to do” and becoming overwhelmed with the obstacles, try to start with just one idea that sparks joy and ask yourself, “How can I run with this?” We may be accustomed to feeling pressure to meet timelines that have been imposed on us as well as those that we create ourselves. The beauty of this exercise is that we have the power to maintain what the momentum looks like for us, whether that is continued self-reflection on the topic, seeking more information from other sources, or taking a step to helping fulfill that hope or dream. You have everything you need to get started, so whenever you are ready, let the dreaming begin!
As always, we are here to support you. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 703-942-9745.