“Summer time and the living is easy”. That is the tune we all hope to sing in the summer, unfortunately this is not always the case. Balancing one’s personal life with professional responsibilities can become even more challenging when work loads and work pressures continue to turn on the heat!
Here are my favorite tips for staying cool, calm and collected in the summer months:
- Clean up your sleep hygiene– Even the scariest case load becomes easier to face after a good night’s sleep. Cool down the room, lower the shades, cut down on your caffeine consumption and cut off e-mail checks an hour before bed. (Drops of lavender oil on your pillow can help.)
- Take a breath– We all over react from time to time. Add heat, stress and a touch of overwhelmed to the pot and it becomes a real pressure cooker! Instead of blowing the lid off the top why not STOP and take a deep breath or two or count to ten. When challenges threaten your composure this will help get your emotions back in check.
- Embrace the Light– Let’s face it, we all work too late. The good news is that in the summer we can stay at our desks until 7:00 or 7:30 PM and still have an hour of sunlight! Think of all the great things you can do with this extra hour? Take a run. Meet a friend or loved one for a drink or dinner at an outside restaurant. Take a walk on the beach. Garden or simply sit outside to finish up your phone calls and work, (if you must!).
- Stay hydrated– Soda, iced coffee, and iced tea might quench your thirst but they will dehydrate you in the long run. If you are like me, drinking gallons and gallons of water is a drag! Throwing in fresh berries, lemon, or even mint can help water go down easier.
- Keep it light– Nothing slows down productivity more than a heavy, greasy breakfast or lunch. Keep fruit, nuts and raw vegetables handy to keep temptation down.
- Turn it up– Nothing lightens the mood better than upbeat music. In the summer months why not turn on Reggae, the Beach Boys or Jimmy Buffet to lighten the mood in the office or at your desk.
- Take it outside– Instead of eating lunch at your desk why not grab a colleague and eat outside? If you need to work through lunch bring your work outside and handle a task that is less stressful. Just being out in the fresh air and sunlight will help elevate your mood.
- Reconnect– Who have you been neglecting during the long cold months of winter? Summer is a great time to reconnect. Everyone is anxious to get out and enjoy the summer months. Block time in your schedule for friends. Summer months go by quickly. Blocking the time guarantees you don’t miss out.
- Disconnect– OK, you’re saying, now you have gone too far! This is the hardest suggestion but totally necessary to regroup and unwind. Take a dedicated e-mail and cell phone break. It does not matter if it is for an hour, during one meal, one morning, and one day or even just at the gym, detaching will do you well.
- Escape! Summer is a great time for a mini excursion. Take a day trip to the wineries, the Hamptons, the zoo, the city, or upstate. It doesn’t matter if you check into a local hotel and sit at the pool, getting away for a couple of hours or a day will help you rewind the clock. If you can’t get away at least grab a good book and escape right on your couch or lounge chair.
- Pamper yourself. Self Care always elevates your mood, decreases stress and increases confidence. Get a message, pedicure, manicure, facial, or try a cool new haircut.
- Layer it- Stress is bad enough, being overheated and stressful is even worse. The challenge of dressing comfortably in the summer is that every office, conference room or restaurant you visit is a different temperature. You can be hot one minute and freezing the next! Dressing in layers and carrying a sweater or scarf in your briefcase can help guarantee your comfort at all times.
Whether you adopt one or two of these suggestions or all twelve even the simplest shift in behaviors can bring about positive change. Why not find a “Stress Buster” accountability partner in your office or professional network? They can help keep you on track and support you in turning these suggestions into habits. Make it a great summer, enjoy, and make the most of the months ahead! Remember dessert spelled backward is Stressed, always “Eat dessert first”!
About the Author: Joan Axelrod Siegelwax is the Executive Vice President of Love & Quiches Gourmet, and the Founder and President of Powerful Possibilities Coaching. In her role at Love and Quiches Gourmet she leads the Human Resources Department with the primary goal of increasing employee engagement, accountability, retention and improved corporate culture. Through creation of Powerful Possibilities Coaching, she has made these skills available to a larger audience through Transformational Executive Coaching, specialing in personal growth, organizational development, career coaching, leadership development, managing transitions, executive presence, personal branding, personal empowerment, life balance, organization and productivity.