“Then followed that beautiful season… Summer… Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light; and the landscape lay as if new created in all the freshness of childhood.”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
“The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.”
Sydney J. Harris
The summer is here.
And for many of us it is a time of vacations, a time of being free from school or a slow time at work or in your business.
So it is a good time to focus on taking a bit of extra good care of yourself to unwind and decompress.
And that is exactly what today’s article is all about.
I hope you will find a couple of tips among these that will help you to recharge yourself and that you may even carry with your into the darker and colder seasons of this year.
1. Just watch the clouds go by.
During the months of continuous intense work it is easy to get trapped in the mindset that you have to do something pretty much all the time. This can add a lot of tensions and stress.
So try doing nothing at all from time to time this summer. Just go for a walk in the woods. Sit by the lake and take in the wonderful summer landscape. Or lie down on the grass and just watch the clouds going by.
Do only that, savor the moments of summer and feel how the inner tensions flow out of your mind and body.
2. Go phone- and internet-free for a time.
I’ll be disconnected for much of this summer. I’ll not go online unless it is necessary. I’ll only check my emails maybe once a day or once every other day. And I’ll leave my phone at home while I’m outside in the sun enjoying a book.
I recommend trying this one out, especially if you tend to spend a lot of time at work or in school with being online or talking on the phone.
Start with just staying away from your email and phone for maybe 24 hours. Then check them.
And you may see that you haven’t missed much by not being available all the time. But instead discover that your stress levels have dropped quite a bit and it feels easier to fully focus on your family, friends or your hobby.
3. Appreciate what you did between New Year’s Eve and the start of this summer.
Half of 2014 has now gone by.
And there might have been some worries. Perhaps you were angry with yourself more than a few times during these 6 months. Or disappointed in what you did, didn’t do or what happened in your life.
When the stress and inner tensions are plentiful then it is easy to get stuck in focusing on what went wrong or on your own setbacks or mistakes.
So take a break from that.
Ask yourself: What can I appreciate about what I did and I accomplished during these 6 months?
It doesn’t always have to be big things. And be sure to appreciate what you did, the effort you put in even if things didn’t go exactly as planned.
4. Go slow.
This will also dial your stress down.
And, perhaps even more importantly, help you to be in the moment and fully enjoy all the sights, sounds, smells and people of your summer.
Instead of being half-lost in the future or in a memory while life and perhaps something really wonderful is happening right in front of you.
5. Say no to the shoulds of summer.
There are sneaky shoulds in life. They can make a vacation filled with things you “just have to do before the summer is over” seem like draining work. And they’ll leave you more tired than you were before your time off even started.
So avoid them by asking yourself: Will this matter in 5 years? Or even 5 weeks?
Zooming out like this makes it easier to find a healthier perspective on things and to see the real value of doing something. It makes it easier to simply relax and to say no to doing something because you realize that it frankly isn’t that important anyway.
6. Spend more time doing what you love.
Maybe it is fishing. Or going out into the woods and picking berries and mushrooms. Or painting. Or reading books. Or playing with your kids or hanging out with an old friend.
No matter what it might be, think about how you can fit more what you love doing into not only your summer but the rest of your year too.
Take a couple of minutes and sit down with a pen and a piece of paper. Think about what you spend your time on during a normal week.
Then find 1-2 things during your regular weeks that you can do less of. Or things you can simply say no to so that you have a bit more time and energy over each week during the summer, fall and winter for what you love doing.
7. Remind yourself: rest and recharge time will pay off both for my health and results in the long-run.
You are not a robot. Even though you or other people may think so from time to time. It’s a simple thought mistake many of us have made or still make.
But it is not the best option. And not just for your mental and physical health in the long run and to prevent for example getting burned out.
No – because in my experience at least – if you get a real break over the summer and during your vacation then that will also pay off greatly in your performance both at work and in your relationships too.
Because your energy will reload for real, your motivation will go up and you’ll feel inspired and curious again as you dump a big box of old stress and tensions by the side of the road.
So when you feel stressed or like you just “should do” something this summer then remind yourself that in the long-run you’ll gain more in any area of your life by getting a bit more rest and recharging time.