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Go On Vacation 365 Days A Year!

August 31, 2016

Are you finding yourself wishing that summer wasn’t over yet? Do you feel refreshed, yet something feels like it is missing from your life that maybe you hadn’t noticed so clearly before? If so, there is a good reason for it. I would like to share with you what is happening to your brain during those summer months and what you can do to bring some more of that enjoyment to your life 365 days of the year.

In our every day lives, we train our brains to constantly jump from one thing to the next. Technology has us turned on 24/7. Our home lives are busy and commutes for many of us are longer than ever before. We are being stretched like elastic bands. And, we all know what happens if an elastic band is pulled long enough – it snaps.

Now, I am not saying you are going to lose it and start throwing your computer around your office. But over time, when we don’t consciously set boundaries while continuing to give and give of ourselves, something inside of us wants to get your attention. It could be our health is impacted or maybe a feeling of dissatisfaction, sensing we are  off-course somehow.

When we finally make the time to slow down, like when we are on vacation, we can see the world in a different way. Our minds have space and these feelings about what we really want in life can come to the surface.

All of this is good and is actually what your body and brain want. We were not designed as human beings to be in constant motion (both physically or mentally). The fact we need to sleep is proof of that. We need periods of rest and periods of exertion to be our strongest.

This September, I challenge you to change your perspective on life and work. Don’t just jump back into your “regular” routine, putting your head down adjusting to the transition of Fall. This is a time for you to choose how you want to live and work. Take what you learned from an enjoyable summer and apply it to the rest of the year. The idea is to live your best life each day. Let your mind rest for periods throughout the day. Build in time to dream. You will be more productive and happier as a result.

Tips to Design Your Everyday Life to Be Productive and Less Stressful:

1.Use visualization of your happy place to trick your brain into releasing feel-good chemicals every day. This can be done by picturing a relaxing place in your mind or having a picture of this spot on your desk so you can recall this peaceful place within you.

2. Take breaks. This may seem like common sense, but very few people take breaks throughout their day. I take 4 short breaks each day to move around and clear my mind. I also build in a 1-hour lunchtime exercise break to keep my energy levels high and my mind sharp in the afternoon.

3.Carve out your boundaries. In order to carve out your boundaries, you need to know what they are. Take time to reflect on what is important to you. Is it eating dinner with your family? If so, make sure you leave the office in time to do so unless you have a major work commitment that comes up once in a while. But, respect this boundary as your norm and don’t be afraid to follow through on it, regardless of what others do.

4. When you get home, leave your cell phone in your front closet with the doors shut. When you check your mobile every 30 minutes, you are not allowing yourself to really be present in any situation as you are wiring yourself to always be switching thoughts. Give yourself and your loved ones the gift of really being with them when you are physically there. If you need to check email at home, carve out a time to do that and go into a private space to focus on this task for a set period of time, and then back into the closet it goes.

5. Give yourself time to wind down each night. Did you notice you slept better on vacation? If so, that is because your mind wasn’t caught up in all the to do’s. Worrying about all the little details for the upcoming week is just a waste of energy. There is nothing you can do about it in the middle of the night. Make a practice of creating an evening ritual where you are unplugged from technology and worries of the world. Have a warm bath, read a fun book, look out the window at the stars in the sky for a few moments. Remember the bigger picture of life.

6. Plan regular social events or fun getaways. Even day trips can add more fun to your life. Don’t allow yourself to get pulled into autopilot mode. This is your life. Make sure to have fun!

7. Work to live, don’t live to work. I am highly committed and passionate about my job, but I must say I had my reality check on this after I suffered a severe brain injury four years ago and spent weeks in isolation with no conversation with anyone, except a few sentences each day with my husband. This sort of injury forces you to focus on what is most important. I sure wasn’t thinking about growing my business or getting in better shape or wanting a bigger house. I was thinking of my family and the importance of love. Our accomplishments are not as important as we think they are. I am not saying this to de-value the great work you do, but as a way of reminding you to not sweat the small stuff. Do your best in life and in work, and remember to make time to relax and have fun. This, my friends, is what life is all about!

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