Recently, on a summer Friday at 6:30 an exhausted client, who was returning my call of Monday, said: “Someone did not get the memo about summer.”
It seems that easy summer living is a thing of the past. And, as with any unmet expectation, the disappointment has an impact beyond the actual reality.
Missing a restful, relaxing and fun summer seems to be standard now. In the Wall Street Journal, August 10th, there was a striking article called “How to Avoid Taking a Vacation So Good It Hurts to Come Back,” in which Jared Sandberg takes the issue even further. He notes that people who want take time off need to plan to avoid the pre-vacation intensity and post-vacation depression. So, one may ask, why bother?
Read the recent Families and Work Institute Study, “Overwork in America: When the Way We Work Becomes Too Much”
- Download free Executive Summary (640KB)
- How overworked are you? Take the quiz.
The researchers note that at least 1/3 of Americans report that they are overwhelmed and overworked, yet are unable to or afraid to take necessary time off.
Another recent related article you may find of interest is:
How Too Many Long Hours Can Be Bad for Your Career, by Hunkar Ozyasar http://www.careerjournal.com/columnists/perspective/20050623-fmp.html?cjpos=columnists_whatsnew
So, for those of you who are stressing post and pre, or in spite of having a vacation, here are five tips for taking mini-vacations that will give you a little taste of what summer used to mean. You may want to keep these in mind during the winter as well.
1. Every hour or two, take a 5 minute meditation break. You don’t have to get into a lotus position or even chant “om”. Merely clear your mind and focus on your breathing, an image of the ocean wafting in and out, or picture in your mind of your favorite vacation memory. To get some help with meditation techniques try: http://www.learningmeditation.com. There is even a chime reminder you can download: http://www.mindfulnessdc.org/mindfulclock.html
2. Take one afternoon off and go to the park, the movies, a pool, a museum, catch a matinee. Do not take work with you… turn off your cell phone, Treo or Blackberry. You can plan for this time or just take off. You will be surprised how refreshed you are the next day.
3. Pursue an interest, craft, or learn a new skill. Schedule non-negotiable time in for this endeavor. Make it a priority. If you select an activity that requires concentration, such as learning a new instrument, beading, knitting or pottery or even reading to a young child, you will find your mind is fully engaged and you return to your work with much more energy.
4. Next time you are in transit, put your work away and just people watch. Try to guess about others lives, have a conversation with your cab driver, and stare out the window and just daydream. You will reset your mind, and might learn something new!
5. Plan a “renewal day” during which you self-indulge. Have a massage, manicure, and pedicure, spend two hours in your gym, get a new haircut, a facial or a makeover in a department store, take a tour of a new neighborhood, go for a bike ride. Shop for fall clothes, or just pile up all those things you have been meaning to read that are not work related and stay in bed in the air conditioning. Turn off the phone, don’t check email… just relax. You will be surprised at the feeling of relief.
Risk… Nothing terrible will happen in just one day. Except, maybe your disappointed expectations will dissipate!
I actually took this advice myself. Want to see what I do? Check out http://www.m-l-p.com
and scroll down to the bottom of the page!
Have any other ideas? Let me know what works for you!