“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’s a time of vacations, a time of being free from school or a slow time at work or in your business.
So it’s a good time to focus on taking extra good care of yourself to unwind, decompress and to recharge.
And that’s exactly what this week’s article is all about.
1. Just watch the clouds go by.
During the months of continuous intense work it’s 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 landscape. Or lie down in the grass and just watch the clouds go by.
Do only that, savor the moments of summer and feel how the inner tensions flow out of your body and mind.
2. Disconnect for a time.
I’ll be disconnected for much of this summer. I won’t go online unless it’s necessary. I’ll only check my emails once a day. And I’ll leave my smartphone at home while I’m out 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 by just staying away from your email and phone for maybe 6 or 12 hours. Then check them.
You may see that you haven’t missed much by not being available all the time. And 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 2016 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’s 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 to 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.
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’s 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 2016.
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 spend less time on. 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.