Just like computers, we all sometimes need to shut down for a short time so that we can “reboot.” Summer days are coming to an end and the hectic schedules of school, work and extracurricular activities are gearing up. In this transitional time, you may find it hard to take care of yourself and stay focused and motivated. Here are three tips to help you reboot, with resources that help you put your intentions into action.
1. Let Your Mind Wander. While you probably think of daydreams, idle planning and unstructured thoughts as useless distractions, forcing yourself to focus during these times is often a waste of energy. Instead of struggling to control your attention, allow yourself to give in and use these brief periods to become fully present. Take a deep breath, close your eyes and accept your wandering mind. If you’d like a tool to help you refocus after shutting down, here is a 10-step/10-minute meditation for you.
2. Walk This Way. Exercise, especially walking in nature, is a well-documented way to feel less stressed and more balanced. In a recent study, researchers compared people who walked in a city one day and a forest another day. Compared to the city environment, walking among trees lowered people’s blood pressure, cortisol levels, pulse rates and sympathetic nervous system activity (related to stress). All of these markers are tied to better heart health. So get out in nature, if only for a few minutes when you can. For added impact, here is a 9-minute guided walking meditation.
3. Ask Yourself: Is It a Bad Day, or Is It Burnout? It’s actually pretty normal to experience a bit of end-of-summer blues. The days are shorter, the air is more crisp and our schedules seem to ramp up very quickly. After a couple of weeks, we usually adjust to our “new normal” and carry on. If, however, your feelings of anxiety, exhaustion or disinterest seem to linger for longer than usual, it may be burnout. This article can help you distinguish between a bad day and burnout and offers useful resources to help you overcome burnout.
Taking the time to “reboot” this fall can help you to be more productive, more patient with yourself and others and, hopefully, enjoy the beginning of the fall season more fully.