Moving with the seasons: summer
Summer is such an exciting season- but for as fun it can be, it can also be a bit exhausting and it can induce a deep sense of FOMO (‘Fear Of Missing Out,’ in case you need that little acronym tip).
There is so much to do outside now that it’s warming up- social invitations (day and night) and the urgency to partake in everything summer has to offer, is ever present.
But, how can we enjoy the gifts of summer while also taking care of ourselves, our career, family, and everything else that demands our attention?
By incorporating grounding techniques. Doing so is always important, but especially during the summer, one can feel more fulfilled by their summer if they are intentional with their actions.
So i’ve rounded up my top 4 tips for staying balanced and centered both at home and @work!
My goal is to help you better juggle everything that’s competing for your attention, while also ensuring that your overall wellbeing stays intact, and in turn you are a happier and healthier you!
Top 4 tips for balance during summer:
Activate your circadian rhythm for restful sleep to maximize your energy.
Proper sleep hygiene is such a fundamental tool, and it’s where I really see a ripple effect of improvement in so many areas of my client’s lives, once they have incorporated it into their routine. Activating your circadian rhythm will help you fall asleep and reach REM more at night, and wake up less- meaning feeling more rested. Be sure to aim for 8-10 hours a night, depending on the level of depletion your body is at. Even if you think your body is ok with 6 hours of sleep, it’s overcompensating for you and your brain probably isn’t super happy or on point. Some tips to kick proper sleep hygiene off are as follows:
Introduce a Power Down ritual nightly- turn off all electronics (or put them on ‘airplane mode’…you know the one I’m talking about) at minimum an hour before your targeted bedtime
Dim your lights with the sunset- you can introduce candles for a dimmer setting and even better yet, a pink Himalayan salt rock lamp to infuse your space with negative ions to induce deeper pre-sleep relaxation
Incorporate meditation, journaling, reading (kindle’s are ok) and/or lavender essential oils during this hour for next-level relaxation
Be sure to get outside in the sunlight for a minimum of 10 minutes a day
@work: Encourage employees to block out 15 minutes of each day for a walk or sit outside- you might even want to promote team walks at a set time every day during summer, to promote team building!
Ensure proper nutrition for improved cognitive clarity.
Summer can be filled with foods that don’t serve our highest potential for wellness. BBQ’s, ice cream, alcohol, etc. can wreak havoc on our system whether we feel the effects immediately or not. When I run cleanses with clients they are shocked to see what they feel like while adopting a clean diet- so much vibrancy and energy abounds! Not just that- but their mental clarity makes them feel decades younger. Food is medicine people! Here are some quick hacks to jumpstart mindfulness around nutrition:
Throw the notion of “dieting” out the window. It doesn’t work long term and actually isn’t good for your body. All you need to do is forget everything you know and remember only this: check ingredients, not nutrition facts. If there is something in it you can’t get from nature or figure out how you would get it on a farm, you shouldn’t be eating it. Your body can’t digest it well. Ps. Avoid sugar, our bodies hate it
Make sure you are incorporating 3 things in every meal: protein, fiber and healthy fat. Yes, I said fat. Healthy fats like the ones in nuts, avocados and coconut oil for example. If you need fiber examples... I’ve heard google is a great source ;)
WATER! You should be drinking at least half of your body weight in water, as a baseline. Do the math and be prepared to shock yourself. I like using a big Nalgene bottle to track this because I know exactly how many I need to fill up and drink a day and I can see my progress at any given moment. Note that alcohol depletes water intake 1:1 and sweating also ups your intake goal.
@work: Run a healthy summer celebration day and provide a healthy snack happy hour with spa water. Remember the 3 essential parts of a meal? Same goes for a snack. This will serve to improve mental focus, production and clarity!
Be impeccable with your word
No overcommitting. It leaves us drained and it feels bad when we have to flake on commitments or deadlines. Chronic overcommitment may actually be a coping mechanism to give ourselves an out on whatever slips through the cracks. Here’s how to avoid it:
Schedule in time for yourself to decompress- let this be your sacred time to recharge and don’t let something ‘more important’ take it’s place. Remember the old adage, and flight safety instructions: put on your oxygen mask before trying to help someone else
Be selective with both your yes’s and no’s. If you are slim on time in general this summer and feeling like time is a precious commodity, when something isn’t a “heck yes!” to participate in, don’t do it. Just don’t. Life goes on.
@work: Empower employees to check out when they leave work, or have an email cutoff time. This goes for upper management, too. I can’t tell you how many managers I had in my corporate career email me from 7pm-midnight and tell me on the side that I didn’t need to respond. This just breeds an environment that feels urgent and stressful, even if we don’t “need” to respond. Educate all employees on the beauty of a ‘draft’ email that can wait to be sent in the morning if they really need to work late.
Being “on” all the time leads to burnout, which by the way is a real, growing epidemic. We’re humans, not machines and we need time to recharge. We’re more productive if we aren’t “on” all the time, too. Workplace mindfulness is on the rise- don’t let your organization fall behind the times! Can you tell that this is my passion-zone? My business is built around burnout because it's silently affecting millions in the US.
Breathe through it
Ever experience moments where you realize you’ve been holding your breath on accident or are breathing really shallow? This leads to our body physically and mentally feeling stressed. Learning how to live in our body and help it work with what we’re experiencing is key to staying balanced in any scenario. I work with clients on breathing techniques that even in stressful circumstances, help calm the nervous system and trick, yes trick, the brain and then body into feeling relaxed. My favorite breath work technique in the workplace is this one:
In a stressful meeting, driving, running late, presentation nerves, going to the neighbor’s BBQ, etc. this quick technique will calm you in no time. It’s a 5-5-7 breath. Breathe in for 5 seconds, hold at top for 5 seconds and breathe out for 7 seconds. Repeat 10 times.
@work: Encourage leaders to start meetings with this quick breathing exercise and ask their direct reports to carry out the same ritual. If every meeting started this way- even with 5 rounds of this breath, think of how productive the entire org’s meetings would be!
There you have it! My top 4 tips for navigating the demands of summer, quick style! I hope you try these tips and see what a difference they make in your life. Remember that the goal is for you to move through this season with fun, ease and happiness, and to keep your wellbeing intact in the process. Leave overwhelm and exhaustion in the past, and make summer your most mindful season yet! If you adopt these practices, take notice of how all areas of your life move with more ease and balance.
If you liked what you read here, and would like more information, support or accountability to put these into practice in your busy life, please reach out! I’d love to help you adopt increased mindfulness and wellbeing.
Katie Dougherty is a dual certified holistic wellness coach, whom specializes in helping high performing, career centered women find balance. She does so by focusing on decreasing her client’s stress levels and increasing their energy and productivity. Katie’s holistic approach to wellness is met with a no-bs transformational coaching method, where client’s co-create a life that’s sustainable, vibrant and purpose driven. The tenants of Katie’s philosophy include; intuitive eating with a bio-diverse approach to nutrition that maximizes energy instead of depleting it, mindfulness practices that ground and calm, and movement to clear stagnant energy. Focusing on a client’s lifestyle habits, and doing deep transformational work to help them obtain their dream life, is where Katie’s work thrives and where she sees her clients truly transform. Check out her website HERE for more details.
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