Our needs shift with each season throughout the year. After a long, cold winter, spring recharges us with new life and energy all around. It is a busy season, cleaning up after the snow and mud while also preparing for the summer heat (and bugs!). Summer should be a time when we get to relax and enjoy all that we’ve worked so hard for.
Take the Time it Takes
While summer has its own added workload such as making and stacking hay, keeping water troughs clean and cool, and for competitors, a summer show schedule, hopefully you were able to get ahead of the extra project list in spring so summer can be at a maintenance level. When doing even the simplest of barn chores like sweeping the aisle, slow down and take the time it takes to complete the task. Turn it into a meditative practice by really being present in the moment. The most repetitive chores like sweeping and mucking stalls are a great way to let your mind settle to calm your thoughts. Practice being present when you’re with your horses, too. They will especially appreciate you being in the moment and calm with them. Slow down while grooming and really focus on every square inch, how the hairs blend together to make a shiny coat, how the lines in their muscles flow together. Let your mind really get lost in the simple act of caring for your horse through grooming.
It may be difficult to find gratitude in all things (“why did my horse poop IN his water bucket!?”) but this is a skill that gets easier with practice. The sheer fact that you get to spend time with these amazing animals should not be taken lightly. It truly is a privilege to be in the presence of such incredible beings. Be grateful for this lifestyle that gets you outdoors, builds physical and mental strength, challenges you, makes you part of a tribe of people, and brings you unconditional love from a giant, majestic animal. Start with the smallest thoughts of gratitude like being grateful for having a pitchfork in your favorite color. These small thoughts will build over time and soon you will notice you feel lighter and more grateful by default.
Embrace the Slow Down
Having horses means there is always going to be work to do and we will always feel like our to-do list is longer than our done list. That is okay! What we all need to work on is understanding that there is a time and place for everything and everything WILL get done, but living in a constant state of busyness and hustle does not accomplish anything faster. What it does do is burn us out which kills our motivation, which makes that to-do list even longer and more overwhelming. Every day focus on completing only three tasks. Yes, just three! It doesn’t feel like nearly enough, but when we focus all of our attention on starting and finishing tasks, instead of starting many tasks but not completing any, we are much more productive and work through our to-do list much more efficiently. As I explained above, take the time it takes to complete these three tasks each day, practice gratitude throughout the process, and embrace the slower pace. When you have completed your three tasks for the day, you can rest easy knowing you accomplished what you set out to do and you can now relax and enjoy the summer day without the looming guilt of more tasks to be done!
Enjoy your summer season of relaxation! Fall is just like spring in that it is a season of preparing for the next, and with that will feel faster paced and energetic. Use the slow simple summer to recharge before that next season of action. What is your favorite way to slow down and enjoy summer?
Jen and her husband, Clayton, bought their farm in August of 2018 and love living the simple country life. They share their home and farm with their dogs, cats, horses, and chickens. Jen loves learning and is always researching new things for the farm, house, animals, and natural wellness. Her favorite mantra is “thoughts are things” and hopes to inspire and empower people to create abundance and sustainability in their own lives. Follow Jen on Instagram @steelspoonfarm and read her blog at www.steelspoonfarm.com