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4 Simple Steps To Avoiding Post-Summer Anxiety

07/22/2014 12:49 EDT | Updated 09/21/2014 05:59 EDT

Now that we are almost mid-way through our summer it is a great opportunity to take some time to pause and think about your priorities. Summer can feel like a dream, but there are simple ways to move your mid-summers dream to a reality.

Spending some time evaluating things right now can help you avoid the anxiety that September often brings, and can assist you in moving your visions to reality. You do not have to overwhelm yourself with an elaborate goal setting process, complete with a Martha Stewart vision board and a step by step list of how to achieve all of our goals over the next 12 months.

That would lead you down the dark road of perfectionism and limit your ability to live an exceptional life. Actually, an open mind and a bit of good old common sense is all that is needed right now. The summer is a great time for doing some thinking and once you have put some thought into your vision for the future, the next steps are to identify and evaluate your priorities and create a realistic plan that will move you forward in these areas. In order to achieve this, I offer a simple and practical structure to get you going.

1. Evaluate your relationships. Our connections can both elevate or deflate us. What is the vision you have for the relationships in your life? Who would you like more time with? Which relationships feel balanced? Are there new people or relationships you desire? Who do you need to distance from, since they are actually bringing you down? Make a quick list with four categories headings "More", "Just Right", "Growth" and "Less" and just start throwing names into the categories and see where they land. Do these names match the positions they actually hold in your life? Are there any changes you need to make? Pick one thing to change and then do it!

2. Evaluate your time. What are your top 3 passions and interests? How much of your time is spent on the things that truly nourish you? Do a quick pie diagram and guess how you spend a typical day. Does it match up to your priorities? Get out your schedule and actually mark time in the calendar for your top priorities. If you have lightened your load over the summer this is a great opportunity to spend some time on the interests that nurture you. Make the schedule your friend, not your enemy. It is not realistic to think we can completely abandon the schedule in the summer. I use the calendar on my phone for this activity, as it helps me plan and experience the things that mean the most to me.

3. Evaluate your financial goals. Do not be afraid to look at this aspect of your lives as denial will only lead you further away from achieving you financial goals. Does anything need to change? Are you on the right course? Meet with a financial advisor and utilize their expertise. If you want to get ahead on this one you could use some time this summer to meet with a financial adviser to check in. As they are not as busy in the summer you will get more attention when you review the plan and adjust as needed. This is an example of "information is power": your choices will be empowered if you have the needed information. Each step forward takes you closer to your vision. Remember you do not need to spend a lot of money in order to have a great time in the summer. Sometimes a simple picnic can be the most fun of all.

4. Evaluate your health. How are you feeling physically and mentally? This is a great time to schedule a physical with your doctor and follow up on any of the self-care that you let slip during the busy year. Could a counsellor assist you in developing strategies in regards to your personal growth? Be kind to yourself as there is no movement in beating yourself up about what you have not done. Make a list of the three health practices that bring you joy and growth, and then move towards the things that you love and make you feel alive. The summer is a great time to renew your commitment to your mental and physical health and to just get outside and enjoy the beautiful world we live in.

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