Seasonal Mojo-Boosting Strategies:
Savouring -- A Strategy for Wellbeing:
Do you remember those days at school when September usually included writing an essay about "What I Did On My Summer Vacation"? Well, here's a twist on this exercise. Take a moment to reflect on the following question:
"What were the special moments of summer 2012?"
Even if you didn't have oodles of time off, take a moment to write out the bits (moments, activities, things you liked) that highlighted what was good about Summer 2012.
Experts in the field of positive psychology (backed up by research) say that savouring our moments of joy and pleasure add more meaning to our lives can have a long-lasting effect on our wellbeing. There are different ways to savour. Savouring strategies include: writing in a journal (and then reading those entries later on), taking photos and enjoying the images beyond the season, talking about those 'great times' -- and more. Sounds super simple yet these easy strategies extend the wellbeing benefits well beyond the actual experiences. So if you are not used to 'savouring' try it out: celebrate the best of Summer 2012 and bring some of it forward.
Bring it Forward: Here's another strategy to consider.....first some context: I remember having a coaching conversation with a woman some years back at this time of the year. She was sad to be closing up the cottage. Although she loved her work she just wasn't ready to let go of summer -- and especially the cottage. I asked her the following question:
"How can you bring some of that cottage experience back to the city to enjoy any time, any place in the months ahead?"
This opened up a big ahh hahh for her and she quickly came up with some great ideas to infuse her year with some of the joys she experiences at the cottage.
I used this strategy myself this summer. I had a chance for some cottage time at a friend's place in August. Although just a few days, I felt so relaxed and thought, how can I duplicate this or at least get some of this more often even though I don't have a cottage of my own? My weekends in the city do tend to be go, go, go and I don't really refresh quite the way I did at the cottage. So I decided I will try to create a 'cottage-themed weekend' for myself at least 1-2 full days every 3-4 weeks at home. How to do this? I will infuse my weekends solely with stuff I like to do at a cottage. While I won't get the 'lake swim' I can indulge in lazy reading, great walks in my ravine without having to turn it into a 'workout'. I'll let go of the schedule and just let myself 'go with the flow' and do that being-thing. Sounds delicious even as I write it. I guess you can say I'm 'savouring this forward' (lol...another strategy all together). We'll see how it goes. Not everyone has the luxury to do what I've described (especially if you've got kids to take care!) but for me the idea was to find ways to truly recover and refresh. Which leads me to the next story - read on.
The gist of these ideas are to help create some sense of "balance" as we dive into the deeper waters of work and life in the months ahead.
Resilience & Recovery: Try the 1,3,2 Strategy
Is there really such a thing as balance? It seems increasingly traditional definitions of work-life balance are being challenged. I was interviewed recently by a journalist writing an article on this issue (I'll share the article when it comes out). And this notion was echoed at a conference I attended in July.
In fact, one of the highs of my summer on the professional front was attending the Canadian Conference on Positive Psychology. The topic of balance and resiliency was addressed by Dr Greg Wells (one of many great speakers on a generous range of topics related to flourishing + wellbeing). He spoke to us via skype as he was in London getting ready to report on the Olympics. Wells works with elite athletes and is an expert on high performance. His talk was about how we can learn from Olympians' and incorporate similar habits to live (and work) a worldclass life. Honing in the issues of maintaining high performance and resilience, Wells introduced the 1,3,2 Principle.
Wells said one of the things Olympian athletes do really well that contributes to their high performance is they know how to recover well. In their training these athletes stress themselves continuously to reach new heights. But most importantly, they know how to recover better, faster and for more sustaining performance.
Recovery is actually a strategy in itself. You don't have to be an Olympian to incorporate this into your life. We all can benefit from learning to recover better and faster from stress and demands of our work (and life). This will not only improve our capacity for greater performance in work and life but we'll boost our mojo and wellbeing.
"Forget work-life balance," Wells said, "It's all about recovery and focusing on being heartier."
Most of us will agree that the demands of work and life these days make it difficult to achieve a 'balance' each day/week/month so instead make sure you build in ample 'recovery time'. He suggests the following the 1,3, 2 formula (as a minimum). The idea is to completely unplug from work:
1 hour (minimum) of total recovery a day
3 full days of recovery a month (in continuum...not separate days)
2 weeks of full recovery a year (in continuum...not separate)
Recovery activities may look different to each of us but the key is to be intentional in creating a recovery strategy that allows you to unplug from work so that you truly do refresh, rest and rebuild your resevoir of energy.
Sounds smart to me. And I spoke about this idea of 'clearing the cache' in my webinar on overwhelm. This topic will definitely be part of my upcoming book on RX for Overwhelm (well in progress and due out 2013).
So as you face the oncoming 'busy season' take a moment and ask yourself what your recovery and resilience strategies will be? And how can you put the 1,3,2 principle into action as you dive into the new season?