Month: July 2015

Preparing to hit the ground running…

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sheepAre you one of those people who can switch work off as soon as you leave the office? What about when you go on holidays, can you get into vacation mode as soon as you wrap up your final work projects? If so, count yourself fortunate! For me it takes a few days to decompress and  let go of work responsibilities and concerns.

That being said, our time away was fantastic…just what I needed. For the first while I couldn’t even concentrate on a mindless murder mystery, but that was just fine…I had the ocean to watch, walk in, and wash away any nagging work concerns. Amazing.IMG_0820

I think it’s important to recognize that vacation time isn’t meant for re-visioning and making plans for future projects. I believe that this time is truly for resting and allowing the change of pace to refresh and rejuvenate in order to prepare you for the re-visioning and planning to come. Too often we hold off the resting period until we get to the point of burnout…time off then becomes recovery! Author Mark Buchanan can relate to this.

“…when I stepped out for a vacation, I did just that: vacated, evacuated, spilled myself empty. I folded in on myself like a tent suddenly bereft of stakes and ropes and poles, clapped hard by the wind. The air went out of me.”

Buchanan, and others, have found a way to avoid the trap of entering vacation time being totally depleted…it’s not that mysterious, but it does take discipline to make it happen.  

I can already hear the groans…you figure it’s a bit Pollyanna, right? Maybe so, but that doesn’t change the value of instilling certain practices. You may not be able to take off for an extended period of time before heading into serious strategic planning…or even a really busy season, but is it possible to build in time for rest and rejuvenation on a regular, even daily basis? Would having that time built in prepare us to take greater advantage of our holidays, ‘training’ our minds to let go of stressors with greater ease? This article provides some great suggestions on this topic. Inc. talks about ‘10 ways to avoid burnout.‘ Even the Mayo Clinic has something to say about daily time set aside for my 3Rs. 

I'd love to be able to do this everyday!
I’d love to be able to do this everyday!

I don’t start teaching again until September, and my coaching/consulting work naturally slows down over the summer months. However, once the calendar registers September I need to be ready to hit the ground running! That means I am now in preparation mode…not full-out working, but the mind is engaged in re-visioning and strategic planning, and I’m ready for that!

And to be sure…part of that re-visioning and planning is making sure I build in regular times to keep life in perspective, stay fresh, and be on my game. What’s your game plan?

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Pondering by the sea…

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This summer was supposed to be all about relax, refresh and rejuvenate…I haven’t been doing so well at that. In all fairness there have been good reasons for the lack of follow through. Since my last blog, life has happened; teaching, case writing, surgery (I slightly under estimated recovery time), supimageporting our son and family through a decision to accept a position with Facebook in Ireland, and, most recently, listing our home. More than ever I need the 3 ‘R’s.

The good news is that we are now on holidays…by the ocean! As I write this blog my husband and I have just finished a relaxing walk along the beach—wading in the ocean—and are now sitting on some driftwood enjoying the sights, sounds, and smells of what, to me, is the most rejuvenating place to be.

There truly is something about the ocean that brings perspective to life…perhaps it’s the rhythm of the waves lapping as they inch closer to high tide, or maybe the total submission of beached jellyfish as they wait for the water to rise high enough to once more embrace them in its gentle eb and flow. Or could it possibly be the absence of schedules and deadlines that happens when we ‘clock out’ and allow for deep breaths, stillness and reflection. There’s a verse that encourages us to ‘Be still and know that I am God’. Sitting here, right now, pondering life and reflecting on recent happenings, watching and recognizing the power of the ocean, certainly brings this verse into focus.

imageWithout the intentionality of stillness, we loose sight of the fact that we are not the boss of our lives! Yes, we are responsible for our decisions and choices, and need to be wise stewards of how we use our skills and abilities. Stillness provides the opportunity to do so; what are the decision I need to consider in the days, weeks and months to come? Will I have difficult choices to make? Who do I need to seek help and input from? Planning times of stillness provides the clarity and mind space to work through such questions. And…it also provides a time of healing for the mind following an intense period of personal and professional life demands.

My time over the next couple of weeks, by the ocean, is to once again re-focus by relaxing, and doing things that bring refreshment and rejuvenation, laying a healthy mental foundation for a busy time ahead.