It’s a well-documented fact that the long summer months can produce social tension. The kids are bored; it’s way too hot and the house won’t stay cool; the drive to vacation world isn’t all that relaxing; there’s no money for vacation; the kids are going stir crazy in the house; the comforting routine of school and work is another several weeks into the future; you’ve about had it up to here.
Stuff happens, it’s easy to get angry; we get it. The good news is there are alternatives to blowing your top. There’s no need to be so reactive when you can take these proactive steps; so try the following 5 ways to stay cool this summer.
1. Get a family calendar going and help keep to it full:
Be proactive. Don’t wait for discontent when you can plan for meaningful activities. Kick things off with a family meeting and make sure everyone is involved with great ideas, planning, and following through. Depending on the kids’ ages, they can take a lot of responsibility. When there’s always something to look forward to, and always something to do, everyone has a better summer.
2. Identify the top few things that make your temper heat up:
Fact is, we all have buttons and sometimes they get pushed. Owning up to your own stumbling blocks both helps the family remove them and takes power away from the things that tend to upset you. Tell your wife, “I’m sorry, but I have a hard time with clutter in the garage (or on the driveway) when I’m getting back from work. Let’s make it Junior’s responsibility to make sure there’s room for my car.” “I know it’s unreasonable of me to get angry at noise in the car when I’m driving – maybe we can put in my favorite 70’s rock and drown them out instead of yelling.” Simply thinking about potential pitfalls can be its own effective intervention. Coming up with solutions ahead of time puts some of the responsibility back on you.
3. If you can’t afford a vacation this year, plan an imaginative staycation:
We all need a break, and time away from the routine; otherwise we’re just asking for trouble. Plan a vacation built around day trips, picnics, local destinations and more. We don’t have to spend mega money to relax – but we do need to take vacation seriously. A refreshed and renewed dad is a cool dad. Don’t sit around and get angry, get planning and schedule some family fun.
4. Begin each day with ten minutes of meditation and/or prayer:
Regardless of our best intentions, summer can and will be stressful. Begin each day with a calm mind and a renewed spirit. Such a practice sets the trajectory for a calmer, “I can handle this” day. We can’t always stay on top of this by our own efforts. We need one another, and we need the support of a higher power.
5. Determine to be proactive, not reactive:
Things get away from us pretty quickly when we react. Whenever our cool is threatened, we have two choices; either we can give power away by reacting, or we can give ourselves a little time to make our own decisions. The moment we step away and reflect, the ball is back in our court, and we’re no longer being played by the circumstance.
SOUND OFF: How do you stay cool when you’re really angry?
Derek Maul is the author of five books, a nationally recognized men’s resource, and a committed encourager. He divides his time between writing and traveling to speak about the fully engaged life.
Article written and provided by ALL PRO DAD