Aaahhhh! Summer is here and hopefully that means you will be taking some much-needed time off. Interestingly, Americans have become so focused on productivity that we often struggle with how to unwind, destress, and actually relax. Many of us even wrestle with whether or not we should strive to achieve these things a part from a perfect world, and sense that does not exist, then why try.
If you find yourself demotivated or unsure of how to unwind, destress, and relax know that you are not alone, but let me encourage you not to give up on this worthwhile pursuit. For those of us who fail to see the virtue in this, we need to lean on the countless studies and anecdotes that highlight the importance of backing away from work. “If we expend energy, we need to renew it,” explains Dana Bilsky Asher, PhD, a senior vice president at The Energy Project, a workplace consultancy.
Perhaps you can relate better to this excerpt from Lakyylah Mahalwal’s article entitled, How to Stimulate Creative Thinking,
When you are at a beach, the ambient noise of the waves hitting the
shore seems soothing. Artists and writers often find the seaside as a
place where they get new ideas, discover new musings. Silence actually
sharpens one’s focus, so it might be useful for a detail-oriented task or
at intense problem solving. On the other hand, a soft ambient sound
(like waves) boosts creativity.
Lakyylah assumes we can get to the beach to hear the ambient noise of the waves. Maybe part of our problem is that we do not know how to relax. If you are not into waves, consider these tips offered by Carley Hauck in her article 7 Ways to (Truly) Relax and Recharge During Vacation,
1. Go somewhere where your nervous system can relax.
2. Don’t over schedule it.
3. Savor the moment.
4. Nurture your relationships.
5. Be flexible.
6. Take time for you.
7. Tune into your natural rhythm
Whether it is this list or the countless others about recharging or relaxing or stimulating creativity there are several overarching themes that emerge. First, is the idea of disrupting the norm. For some of us, everything on the above list is out of our normal practices of how we live day-to-day. The second common theme is to do things at a slower pace. If your schedule is not maxed out, you move through the day less harried. In order to savor the moment, you have to take a moment. Nurturing relationships takes time and can not be rushed.
If relaxing well is not one of your strong suits, then consider doing things differently this year.
Do not fall victim to that mentality that keeps doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Instead, take the vacation challenge that gets you out of your norm and slows life down just for a short period of time and then look back in six months and reap the fruit of your courage to pursue a “real” vacation.
Beginning July 1 The Collaborative is going to try and practice those things we are advocating. By way of encouragement, we are taking a Screen Sabbatical for the month of July. For us this means no blogs, enewsletters, or social media. We do not want to be part of the problem but rather join with you in our collective pursuit of flourishing—personally and professionally. By no means are we “closed for business,” rather we are using the month to plan and prepare for a busy and exciting fall.
See you in August!