Photo by: Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

4 Ways to Be Your Best Self This Summer

Photo by: Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

Making it through the everyday isn’t easy, but you try your best. You juggle your job, relationships, commitments, and munchkins, and the stress of trying to achieve this so-called work-life balance adds up.

People tell you to practice more self-care and to continually strive to be your best self, as if that’s the magic cure. While it’s a thoughtful and positive concept, that’s never been realistic with everything life throws in your way. What you bring to the table changes daily based on what you’re capable of giving, and that’s okay. You’re not supposed to be perfect every day of the week.

It’s about checking in with yourself when you feel yourself slipping, honoring that and empowering yourself toward self-actualization while navigating all your “functions” as an adult. There’s no better time to start than now. Get your conjunction-junction back on track to live your life from a place of happiness, whole health, and growth by following these four ways to be your best self this summer.

1. Balance Basic Needs

What do you believe your basic needs are, and how do you meet them on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis? One of the first things that comes to mind for most is getting the bills paid while making sure you have food on the table and a roof over your family’s head.

The scope of your basic needs runs deeper. Psychologist Abraham Maslow developed his hierarchy of needs in the 1940s, which proposes all humans have innate growth needs and deficiency needs. Growth needs stem from a desire to grow and develop as an individual, while your deficiency needs manifest from deprivation. Maslow believed you must resolve your deficiencies before you can move on to meeting growth needs.

Everyone has basic physiological, safety, social, and esteem of deficiency needs, but self-actualization—a growth need—tops the pyramid. You must balance these needs to move on to growth. Workaholics, take note: let yourself socialize.

2. Have Your Day in the Sun

Life is short, but you also have obligations. The two wage war and cause you to stress out. You risk burnout when you should focus more on only getting sunburned—because that’s the lesser of two evils, right? UVB rays risk damaging your skin, so you protect it with sunscreen. You choose zinc oxide over retinol in the ingredients list because you want to do what’s best for you and your family. Similarly, you need to do more to protect yourself and live life more fully. When was the last time you went outside in nature, or better yet, to the beach?

Have your day in the sun, because you deserve it. Protect yourself from the damage of working too hard and not enjoying your life. What would make you happy right now? Find that balance; even if it’s only for a moment, get out in nature to find your inner nature. Let yourself be inspired and find the spotlight that lifts you up and makes you spread cheer. Burn bright without burning out or burning up.

3. Set Self-Concordant Goals and Work at Them

You’ve heard the saying, “To thine own self be true.” Setting self-concordant goals works from the core of this saying to achieve healthy and fulfilling goals.

A university study followed participants who chose three goals to pursue for the semester and listed their motivations. In the follow-ups, participants stated self-concordant goals felt easier to achieve, though they invested the same effort into goals without identifying the motivation. Self-concordant goals remain consistent with personal identity, personality, talents and basic needs.

When you don’t feel passion or happiness with your goals, you’re less likely to go after them. You don’t contribute to your whole health. Set goals in line with who and why you are, and make steady progress toward them. Small steps achieve great things.

4. Serve Others

Serve others beyond the idea of duty and obligation. Give from a place of joy and watch it spread. Kindness is contagious. People give sometimes to soothe their egos, rather than from a place of concern or generosity. That doesn’t serve anyone positively.

Transcend yourself and your ego. Connect your passions and reasons for being with a bigger-picture concern. Spread joy and happiness this summer, whether that’s paying for a stranger’s coffee or volunteering.

Be your best self this summer by meeting your basic needs in a way that reflects your values, needs and identity. Set goals from a similar place to find more fulfillment and increase your odds of achieving them. Find your place in the sun, literally and figuratively — you deserve it. Finally, serve others and spread joy.

Remember: Your personal best varies daily. You may not have energy for specific circumstances or people, and that’s fine. Always operate from your inner compass. Use this summer to get back in tune with what that means to you. The summer is hot, but you’re on fire.

Jennifer Landis is a mom, wife, freelance writer, and blogger at Mindfulness Mama. She enjoys yoga every damn day, red wine, and drinking all of the tea she can find. Follow her on Twitter @JenniferELandis.

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