Summer (my favorite season) is in full swing. Who else has memories of cookouts, Fourth of July sparklers, being in the pool all day (everyday)? These memories come flooding back to me. But that is the life of childhood, when summer vacation meant glorious weeks of no commitments. It’s just not the same anymore; adult life treks on regardless of the season. Maybe we take a week at the beach, but, oftentimes, we’re still answering emails, checking into conference calls, and organizing spreadsheets.

I want to encourage us all to use this time of year to remember those lazy summer days of childhood. For many of us, they were a respite from the demands of school, seemingly endless days when we could be outside. The usual rules didn’t apply. Let’s find that spontaneity again, that excitement that comes with living life on your own terms.

How do we do this? BALANCE.

Yes while life is full of ebbs and flows, we CAN still feel grounded and balanced.

Life-work balance is absolutely key to sustained happiness, and summer is a perfect time to work on that equilibrium. It means being more efficient at work and making a concerted effort to really take time off.

Here are some tips to help you find the perfect balance between work and play:

1. Just Say No

Too often we take on responsibilities as favors to others or because we think we “should.” That’s exactly how we over schedule ourselves. The next time a neighbor asks you to watch her kids or your coworker invites you to the routine (and boring) office happy hour, politely decline. Instead, use that time as a treat for yourself—maybe for a hike, catching up with a good friend on the phone, or taking a long bath.

2. Increase Productivity When It Matters

How many afternoons have you stayed late at work because there just didn’t seem to be enough time in the day to get it all done? Or how many evenings have you found yourself scrambling to complete chores you just couldn’t get to during the day? True, sometimes there’s a work or home emergency that eats up our time, but often these events are the results of poor time management. One of the best ways to be more effective at work (be it in an office or in running a household) is to cut out the distractions that make us less productive. Try swearing off Facebook, Twitter, television, and texting during these times. You’ll be amazed at how much more you get done (and therefore how much extra time you have for yourself).

3. Be on Vacation

If you’re on vacation, you owe it to yourself and your loved ones to really be on vacation. This means telling those you work and/or volunteer with, “I’m sorry, but this is time for my family and me.” Set up an automated email response during your vacation days; change your voicemail to let people know you’re gone. You’ve earned this time away! Take full advantage of it.

Let these warm evenings and sunny days inspire you to really take time out for yourself. With some adjustments (it might feel a bit uncomfortable at first to enforce boundaries but worth it in the long run) and self-love practices, balance is possible!

Weight Release & Body Image Coach, Laura Fenamore, is on a mission to guide women around the world to love what they see in the mirror—one pinky at a time—so they can unlock the secrets to a healthy weight, and start loving their lives as soon as possible. Having overcome her own battle with addiction, obesity, and eating disorders, Laura released over one hundred pounds twenty-four years ago, beginning her on a journey to guide other women to live more joyous, balanced lives. Laura believes that self-love and self-care is where the transformation begins. Learn more about Laura at

*Photo by IthacaBarbie.