As many of our social calendars are busier than ever this summer, it’s important that we take time to pause and recharge amid all the fun. While you may feel pressure to attend every gathering and “be on” all the time, research shows that prioritizing down time can actually help you be more present when you’re with others.
We asked our Thrive community to share with us how they’re unplugging and recharging this summer. Which of these ideas will you try?
Spend time outside
“My favorite way to unplug and recharge in the summer is by finding 10 minutes a day to connect with nature. I lay in the grass and make sure my skin touches the earth and take my shoes off. I then take long deep breaths either with my eyes closed or while gazing up at the sky, trees, clouds, and birds. Something about this process triggers a release. In those moments, nothing else matters. After that, I feel like I’m fully recharged and ready for the rest of the day.”
—Amal Mehic, process engineer, Syracuse, N.Y.
Designate a weekly “local day”
“Sunday is my ‘local’ day, meaning I stay close to home. I try not to drive anywhere more than five or ten minutes away if necessary. Sundays are reserved for refueling, re-energizing, and making sure I give back to myself. I will take the time for personal space, do personal admin, read, write, create, and get in some physical activity outside. This allows me to feel I’ve taken the time for self-care before the busy week kicks off again. Entering a new week knowing you have given back to yourself alleviates the anxiousness most experience on Sundays.”
—Catherine McCourt, transformational life and business coach, Vancouver, B.C., Canada
Reconnect with friends
“I feel that right now is the time to reset and reconnect with family and friends in an elevated way. I am actively making mindful and meaningful time for in-person meetings. Every call or get-together is a mini celebration, honoring the successes of others as well as my own wins. I am using the summer to reach back into my business network as well with invitations to spend a few minutes together on a phone call. This feels like the right moment to reconnect with friends. Future plans will be set, conversations will be started, and relationships will be enhanced.”
—Randi Levin, transitional life strategist, N.Y.C/N.J.
Try a change of scenery
“This summer, I am coming back to the city. I found that the lack of noise and the isolation of lockdown was too much. Now, I am finding that I seek ‘joie de city’ and all the moving parts that previously I might have taken for granted. Noticing and appreciating the smallest details like birds chirping against the backdrop of the streetcar wheels squealing are important to feeling like myself again. The animation of the city feels like being alive. It’s great to be back.”
—Cathy Connally, author and entrepreneur, Ontario, Canada
Plan a long weekend
“I have a few long weekends planned this summer, as well as a week of vacation. While a week is great, three day weekends away are such a great way to unplug, recharge, and return to work refreshed and ready to go!”
—Cindy J., executive search and human resources consultant to nonprofit organizations, Boston, MA
Take the trip you had to cancel last year
“After a two year hiatus from our annual family trip, my husband and I are taking our teen and adult kids to Puerto Rico this summer. These Caribbean trips replaced our traditional presents at Christmas after our youngest child no longer believed in Santa, and we look forward to them each year, until the quarantine. The trip allows our family to settle in and focus on each other. We cook dinners together, enjoy the sunsets, and breathe. It is filled with some of the happiest moments of the year for all of us.”
—Robin Buckley, executive and couples coach, Rye, N.H.
Take up gardening
“To unplug this summer, I’m spending at least 30 minutes outside in the garden near my home. For every day I don’t visit the garden, I make sure to donate $100 to a local temple. It’s a win either way! But most importantly, it’s motivated me to get outside and spend some quality time with nature.”
—Dinesh Agarwal, founder of recurpost.com, Gujarat, India
Use your vacation days
“I’m recharging by taking an entire month off of client work. Giving myself the space to write, play, have fun and dream with few time commitments is a gift that helps me breathe more fully and then be able to return to my client community refreshed, recharged, and re-energized after the much-needed break.”
—Susan Elford, leadership coach and small business mentor, Alberta, Canada
Carve out an hour of “me time”
“I am a tax guy, so a lot of my deadlines are determined by governmental agencies. Planning becomes a big piece of my unplugging. I plan for one hour of ‘me time’ in the morning and one hour at night. An important piece of my downtime includes working in my yard. I also try to read two books a month, and I have taken up rock climbing with my five-year-old granddaughter. These are things on my calendar as important as the weekly staff meetings and client calls!”
—Keith Fulfer, CPA, Collierville, TN
Make time for summer reading
“One of the things I’ve rediscovered is the joy of summer reading: laying out in the sun or on a beach with a good book in hand. I try to sneak pages in here and there: at night, in the mornings, on a quiet lunch break. If I can travel to a distant land or faraway time, even if it’s just for a few pages or minutes, I find that I can disconnect. Nothing feels more relaxing than slowly chipping away at my yearly reading goal and visiting old friends burdened by a different set of problems than my own.”
—Meredith Wilshere, publicist, Boston, MA
Savor your small joy triggers
“To unplug and recharge this summer, I’m going to focus on the small good things that bring me joy, like walking near the ocean, reading in the sunlight, and engaging in meaningful in-person conversations.”
—Kristin Meekhof, author and resilience expert, Royal Oak, MI
Set a daily intention
“I have a daily routine that helps plug and recharge quite well. As soon as I wake up, I put my palms together facing upwards, and set the intention that today is going to be amazing. That doesn’t mean that every day is amazing, but that positive, unstoppable attitude makes me better equipped to handle whatever comes my way. Yoga and meditation have been a regular part of my life and daily routine for a while. My current yoga and meditation practice is focused on boosting the immune system via breath work and yoga poses.”
—Anita Kumari Srivastava, founder and chief strategist at HappinessFactors, San Jose, CA
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