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Slow Down Summer

It happens every summer: My calendar gets filled up with exciting plans, activities, and commitments, and when the busy week arrives, I feel more stressed than excited about all the plans. 

After busy plans, having an entire day off at home to regroup and return to your typical routine is helpful. However, as someone who likes to optimize their time away on trips, I struggle to give myself that day off or to put time in my calendar for physical rest. So, here are some ways that have helped to ground and restore me despite the business of life - 

  1. Quiet mornings. Waking up a little earlier allows me the quiet time my body craves before launching into a busy day. I stay flexible with what I do in the morning. Still, it typically includes one or a combo of savoring my morning tea, journaling, writing, reading, exercising, or stretching.

  2. Journaling. Journaling is a great introspective way to collect yourself and all of the thoughts and feelings that come up throughout the day. It also helps me slow down the calendar, taking in everything that comes with my busy schedule rather than feeling like life has passed me by.

  3. Scheduling restorative weeknights. If you work in an office, you likely live at home during your work weeks. Doing nothing after work is typical for me throughout the winter because of the shorter days and decreased energy. But summer nights come with extra energy, making me feel awake later into the evening, making it easy to want to commit to plans throughout the week. But taking an evening each weeknight to rest and recover can be just as pleasurable and even more rewarding. So, pick a night or two each week that you protect, schedule no activities or appointments, and do the things that restore you - whether cleaning up your living space, cooking a nice meal, taking a bath, or reading a good book.

  4. Deep breathing and pausing. Deep breathing can help us manage our stress levels through a nervous system reset, impacting our overall mood and satisfaction. Take advantage of little pauses throughout the day, like when you're stuck at a red light, waiting for the elevator to arrive, or transitioning from one project to the next, and take three deep, long, slow breaths, and allow yourself to check in with your body.

  5. Saying no. I have tried to create more time in a day, but unfortunately, the laws of physics deny it. So, when it comes to caring for yourself and protecting your time and energy, you may have to decline invitations or obligations if they do not fit into your schedule. I still struggle with this from time to time, especially when it might feel like I am letting someone down. But most people will understand, and the cost to your well-being shouldn't be compromised by serving others.

As you transition into summer, I hope you can embrace the excitement and energy of the season while finding ways to savor it, taking it in slowly and grounding yourself in the process.

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