3 Steps to Help you Make the Most of Summer's End
Summer can be great but this year we weren’t sure what to expect. For many, there’s ongoing stress and sadness from the last eighteen months. Even if you’re enjoying some of your usual activities, we can all agree that Summer 2021 is simply disappearing wa-aay too fast. While self-care was essential when we entered a COVID world, this Summer as we emerge, it’s just as important. For the sake of your health, this Moment is to encourage you to make the most of Summer – especially this one as it winds down. There’s still time. Here are three thoughts to help.
1. Let Go of Expectations
It’s all too easy to base our priorities and our days on ‘shoulds’ and comparisons to the past and the people around us. Although a return to so-called normal life appears to be happening, it’s not necessarily easy and looks different for each of us. For some, connecting with loved ones as soon and as often as possible is our happy place. For others, it’s a hurdle to put ourselves out there. Lockdown may have offered a welcome retreat or shaken our confidence in ourselves or our safety. Worry about new rules and protocols can cause awkward interactions, even for social butterflies. Some relationships or activities may have changed and things just won’t be the same – for a while, maybe not ever again. Maybe you’re not as keen as you thought you’d be about returning to pre-COVID commitments. Or maybe on the business front you’re holding yourself accountable to old goals and out-of-date plans.
The point is it’s all OKAY. The reality is post-pandemic life may look different than before. Let go of expectations about what you ‘should’ be doing and what summer ‘should’ have looked like. There’s still time to make this one fun and healthy.
2. Turn Off Your Auto-Pilot
Whether you’re feeling hesitant about ramping back up or already feeling the pressure of pre-Covid level commitments, take a step back to consider what really matters to you. Surveys on COVID-related stress show one positive result of the difficult experience. Over 75% of people report greater appreciation for the value of our health, for friends and family, a greater sense of self-reliance, and most significantly a shift in priorities about what’s important. The lesson? Don’t automatically do, just because you’ve always done.
Turn up your inner voice. Be mindful of what’s important to you now. Ask yourself: are you actually keen to rejoin the team or class? Couldn’t possibly miss any get togethers? Maybe you’d rather spend the time exploring something new. Going after what you really want may mean stepping out of your comfort zone. Remember, holding on to what matters is not the same as staying stuck. Summer is a great time to reflect and rethink before launching into Fall and Winter routines.
3. Set a Date to Escape
Let’s not kid ourselves. Navigating the new normal, rethinking priorities, on top of meeting our regular work and life demands is not easy. Sometimes we can’t see how we’ll manage it all. What we do know is that hard work goes better when we take a break. Take a day off…a week if you can. We’re not necessarily talking luxury adventures or exotic destinations. We’re talking about time away from work, worry and routine to relax and restore.
Forbes Magazine reports on the value of a vacation to boost physical and mental health. Taking time off helps lower stress and anxiety, buffers against depression and restores resilience. And for those of us who think we” "just can’t afford the time” a study by Boston Consulting Group found that professionals who took time off were much more productive after a holiday than before. One of the ways to successfully navigate the stresses and strains of our daily lives and ‘get things done’ is to step away for a break. Yet this year we’ve postponed trips, cancelled events or avoided making any plans at all. It’s not too late.
So please, take a moment now to mark your calendar … out-of-office, offline, closed for the day or the week. Make a plan for your vacation - micro or major – a special weekend, hiking, a concert, a road-trip. It’s the best way to savour the last days of Summer and best of all, set yourself up for good health in all seasons.
This Wellness Moment is from Health Plus Insurance. From our family to yours, take care. If you’re a Health Plus plan member remember you have access to free professional Wellness Resources.