I can’t believe I’m sat here writing this and we are almost at the end of July, “Freedom Day” happened a few weeks ago and I am taking some time to reflect on the last year and everything I have gone through. Recently I attended the virtual 7th World Congress for the International Positive Psychology Association, where I also presented my research. The theme of the conference was “wellbeing for all” and topics of the keynotes and the symposiums were broad to encompass the events and movements we have seen played out across the world stage, from a global pandemic to racial injustice, the conference also gave a signal to hope and optimism for the future, how our inner compass defines happiness and how many of us will have moved through these more difficult times with a changed sense of meaning and purpose.
I’m sure I’m not alone when I say even just reviewing the last year makes me realise how fatigued I truly am. I’m ready for some time off and glad to be heading off on vacation at the end of today. As a business for Team CHAMPS August is one of our quietest delivery months, apart from last year, where I think many individuals delayed taking their annual leave because there was an expectation that the pandemic would be over soon. This year with many people (and organisations) languishing, I think we are all ready for some much-needed time out.
I believe there is an importance of switching up your self-care for the summer. Self-care despite what we often think needs to be applied strategically. It needs to be adapted to not only suit where we are at that point in time, but also consider our external environment. We forget we are animals too and our circadian rhythms, such as our body clock, will adjust according to what season we are in. Two different people pointed this out to me last week when they noticed their pets simply lazing around in the heat, trying to not get stressed and hot, unlike us humans who think we must continue to push through the heat no matter the cost!
No doubt you are familiar with the CHAMPS MWealth model, this is a great place to start with your keystone habits to see what might need switching up with a change of a season.
For example, what do you notice (be more mindful about) as you go through the month of August? I notice the feeling of the sunshine on my skin, the beautiful sunsets across the sea, I savour the taste of my favourite Rossi ice cream, an after-work treat! I tend to move differently, as I live on the coast, more time is taken to swim, my runs are done earlier in the morning to miss the heat. Salads, seasonal vegetables and fruits feature much more in my diet than in other seasons, and of course lots of water to hydrate. As an early bird, I will be wide awake early with the sunrise, so this often means I’m flagging by lunch, therefore I’ll take a 20-minute nap (the perfect amount of time for short-term cognitive restoration) over my break if I’m working from home.
You can also review your productivity and work schedule to allow it to meet those self-care needs. Many industries are cyclical; therefore, I know for me and Team CHAMPS August is more of a ‘headspace’ month. Time to be creative, to pause and think as a team. We tidy up, get organised and plan, ready for a busy Autumn. I ensure my daily to-do list is minimal and one or two key goals for the week. In the past, I would try and push against this, which was counter-productive and stopped me from taking the time I needed to rest. Also recognising, as a leader, that the team need this time to recharge their batteries too.
I am not sure whether it is because I am a September baby, but I think of September as my real start to the new year – the “back to school, back to work” vibe! Therefore, in addition to the above easing into a new pace of work-life and adjusting my MWealth habits, August always has a healthy dose of self-care reflection.
Here are some self-care questions you can mull over whilst reflecting on the last year
- Where can I be more mindful in my life?
- When have I had my happiness cup filled?
- What have I learnt in the last year?
- What am I truly grateful for?
- What boosts and nourishes my soul?
- How can I mitigate those activities which drain my wellbeing?
- Where can I practice forgiveness and compassion towards myself?
On that note, I wish you a restorative summer break and a more relaxed work schedule for the month ahead. If you need our support both Tara and I will be around to speak with you for a chat and we look forward to hearing your Mental Wealth plans for the autumn.
Wishing you a wonderful and safe summer month ahead.
Ruth @ Team CHAMPS