Summertime has a rhythm of its own, one that should be embraced and respected. (Especially for any educators out there.) Our culture has a way of glorifying efficiency, speed, and productivity. I say nuts to that – let’s reclaim this summer and all the important things that go with it: rest, intention, and reconnection.
We need to remember that the body keeps the score. If you don’t find space to de-compress, your stress will become part of you. The slowdown takes time – it’s a conscious choice that requires practice, and intention.
Here are 5 ways to slow your roll this summer:
1. Pay back your sleep debt. This won’t happen unless you plan it – tell your partner, kids, in-laws, and dog that you’ll be napping, or sleeping in that day, and catch up on the Zzz’s you know you need.
2. Change the rhythm: If you’re always rushing out the door, jaw clenched after a frenzied morning, switch the rhythm. All you need to do is set your alarm 20 minutes earlier. That buffer allows us to swap the stress for a more relaxed approach to the day.
3. Embrace a slow activity: Break out your leisure suit, Betty! Slow activities can include a walk in the park, a hike, or digging in the garden. Try reading outside, or sitting barefoot watching the clouds go by. Keep it slow and keep it simple – it’s about being present.
4. Disconnect to reconnect: Living in a hyperconnected world can be exhausting. There is very little solace from the screens and the constant notifications. It’s critical for your mind and your soul to take a little break. See where your thoughts travel when they’re not consumed by a device.
5. Slow, deep breath. Just a few minutes of belly breathing can activate our relaxation response, lowering the stress hormone cortisol, and improve our focus and attention.