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Making the Most of the Summer Break

I love summer because the weather is usually sunnier, flowers are in bloom and life slows down enough for a well-deserved rest. I know there are some who don’t like the hotter weather summer brings but stay with me as I make some valid points. Most living creatures have a cycle of life where there are periods of activity followed by periods of rest. The rest period is just as important as the active period because it is during this time that replenishment and re-energising happen in preparation for the next period of activity.

As human beings we sometimes think that if we stopped for one moment, everything around us would come to a standstill. Well, perhaps no one is quite that naïve, but you must admit that many of us often act like we really believed this. We think that we have to justify building in some rest time into our busy schedules. If the last few years have taught us anything, it is the fact that a well- lived life does not consist of rushing mindlessly from one activity to the next without so much as a pause. Activity does not always equate to productivity. You can spend a lot of time doing things that don’t produce the desired results; busy, but with nothing to show for your frenzied activity.

Now please don’t get me wrong. I am not advocating laziness. Far from it. Success is often the reward of hard work. Lazy people have dreams but could not be bothered to pursue those dreams. The end result is that those dreams remain just that – dreams. They never become reality. Successful people are often people who have pursued their dreams with focus, hard work and perseverance. But successful people also know when to work and when to play. Otherwise, they would end up overworked, stressed and invariably, their health and relationships will eventually be affected.

As I say in my book, 10 Days to Reduce Your Stress, (available here) “we can learn to reduce the stress in our lives on a continual basis so that we never ever get to the point where we feel overwhelmed. It is possible to have a life that is “bad” stress-free”. Part of learning to do this is to be intentional about building in times of rest into our busy schedules. This is made even easier if we use the natural rhythms of life as a basis for doing this. Summer is often a time when the kids are on vacation, people take their annual holiday, and a considerable number of companies are not operating at their fullest capacity. It is therefore a good time to build in lots of rest periods. Resting does not have to mean complete inactivity though. It can also be a time for taking stock, realigning yourself to your goals, and looking at what changes you need to make in the future in order to stay on top of your game.

Here are some things that you can do to help you achieve this healthy balance of resting yet staying alert and focused? Here are a few tips:

· Build fun things into your schedule. Do things that you find enjoyable, activities that you know replenish your depleted stores whether that is emotionally, physically or spiritually.

· Rest more. You don’t need an excuse to rest – your body was built to need it.

· Commit to reading one or two books that are motivating and inspiring. (I particularly find auto biographies or biographies of people who have overcome difficulties quite helpful).

· Spend more time with your loved ones. Top up on those relationships where you feel you have not given as much to as you would have liked.

· Have coffee with your mentor or trusted friend. Ask them to tell you honestly how you are doing and what you can do differently. Listen to their words of advice!

· Finally, spend time reflecting on how far you have come since the beginning of the year and what you would like to see happen over the next few months. Write down your thoughts and then formulate a plan for what you are going to do come September when everything kicks off again.

“The average person living to age 70 has 613, 000 hours of life. This is too long a period not to have fun.” Author unknown

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