“The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.”
Sydney J. Harris
“It is not a daily increase, but a daily decrease. Hack away at the inessentials.”
Summer is here after – what at least in Sweden was a long and dreary – winter and spring.
And for many it's a time of vacation and of recharging the batteries for the rest of the year.
So today I’d like to simply share 10 of my favorite habits that help me to do just that and I know will help me this summer too.
- Say no to the shoulds of summer. These sneaky and self-esteem deflating thoughts can make a vacation filled with things you “ought to do before the summer is over” into burdensome work and leave you more tired than you were before your time off even started.
So question those tasks by asking yourself: Will this matter 5 years from now? Or even 5 weeks from now? Zooming out like this it makes it easier to simply relax. And to say no to doing something because you may realize that it isn’t that important anyway.
- Go slow. You’ll be less stressed. And you’ll enjoy all the people, sights and experiences so much more because you’ll naturally take the time to appreciate them.
- Do one thing at a time. No matter what thing. Multi-tasking tends to lead to stress, confusion and to not doing as good a job as you may imagine. Single-tasking just about anything on the other hand makes it easier, more enjoyable and you’ll be more focused.
- Cycle plenty of rest in the grass with your summer projects. Don’t forget to wind down and just relax in the grass or hammock with a nap, a good book or watching the summer clouds slowly pass by.
- Don’t make mountains out of plain molehills. One of the best ways to make your summer and whole life easier and lighter is to not build mountains out of molehills. To not create extra drama or a problem out of something that doesn’t matter very much. Or just out of plain air. Deflate that imaginary mountain by using the question from tip #1 whenever you catch yourself starting to build one.
- Change things up and take a break from the internet. I don’t work much online these days really. I usually create blog posts like this one and new course material early in the day before I even connect to the internet. During the summer I’ll be even less online and instead read more books, travel more and do other offline stuff. I find it very relaxing to keep my internet usage as effective as I can.
- Get one thing that is bothering you all the way to done. Unfinished things can cause a lot of low-level stress and gnaw at the back of your mind. Find one such task in your life. One that may have been there for a while. Get started with it and then to done by taking small steps, like just working 1-10 minutes at a time on it. It will feel like a relief to finally have it out of your life and mind.
- Don’t guess. Ask. Trying to read minds usually don’t go so well. So instead, just ask. It may be a bit uncomfortable at times but, in my experience, by doing so you promote openness and communication in your relationships and it will help you to minimize unnecessary conflicts, misunderstandings and waste of energy and time. And that feels just great.
- Take two minutes a day to close your eyes and just focus on your breathing. This brief and daily meditation break that I have been playing with myself in the past month lets tensions fall off of you and clears your mind. And those 2 minutes can quickly become some of the most powerful of your day.
- Just be here and appreciate the summer. The sunshine and the warmth. The people and the experiences. It won’t be here forever. So don’t get lost in plans for the future or memories of the past. Do a bit of planning of course and learn from what has happened.
But decide to be fully here most of the time during these months to savor the small moments like a melting ice-cream in the sun but also the bigger ones with the people closest to you.