When this extended busy season ends, we’ll notice summer days feeling warmer and brighter. When crossing that proverbial finish line, I acknowledge freedom that leaves me feeling spacious, accomplished and abundant. Busy seasons (especially this one) can be hard, but we all come out a little stronger, wiser and more learned each year.
Once you feel this freedom, do you ever feel a little confused about what to do with this free time? Before you rebound to the nearest couch for a Netflix marathon, restore your body, mind and soul.
I’m no Dave Brubeck, but today’s post includes my rendition of “Take 5.” I invite you to explore my Take 5 Method to come alive again. You dedicate a lot of time, energy and knowledge to your work. After the busy season, give yourself permission to be selfish during this transition time and prioritize what brings you back to YOU.
Are you thinking, “I’ve been gone so long, how can I be selfish?” Consider the quote, “Be selfish to become selfless.” By caring for yourself today, you’re setting yourself up to be a better colleague, family member and contributor in society.
The Take 5 Method
1. Take time to celebrate
Before we go further, take a moment to recognize your dedication and hard work over the past several months. Every busy season has its challenges and your contribution affected the final output. Go you!
Empowered action: Do a happy dance, book a spa day, go outside for a run or do whatever feels good to celebrate all you accomplished. Also, while everything is fresh in your memory, now is a great time to draft your self-evaluation and honor your positive efforts.
2. Take a break
After working long nights and weekends, I highly suggest taking a few consecutive days off to do something that makes your heart feel good. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, but you should try to refrain from work email. (Besides, it’s not taking a break if you’re still connected!)
In busier periods, it can be routine to check work email. But truly disconnecting from work is the difference between feeling refreshed and feeling frustrated. It’s important to enjoy a relaxing vacation without stressing about work.
Empowered action: Set expectations with your team well in advance. Find coverage to answer email while you are out of the office. If impossible, see how you can limit work during your time away. In my CPA days, I would advise my team to text me in the event of an emergency; otherwise, I didn’t look at my email. That way, I had permission to refrain from scanning my inbox and a clear process in place to support the team in an emergency. This sets a clear boundary and also makes you a team player. (Bonus tip: Make sure your out-of-office message includes a contact person in the event of an emergency.)
3. Take the initiative to rekindle the spark with loved ones
While you’ve been working, your loved ones missed you. Post-busy season is a nice time to show affection to family and friends. I like the idea of sending postcards or personalized letters. It can be a short, yet sweet way to let someone know that you care about them.
Empowered action: Come home early to make a homemade meal, clean the house or find other ways to support friends and family with simple acts of service. This is your thank you to loved ones for supporting you during your time of need. Acts of service also help loved ones feel at ease knowing that you’re back in their lives and able to contribute again. Small gestures often mean the most.
4. Take control (of you)
Now’s the time to deploy the healthy routine you’ve wanted that you might not have had time for during the busy season. Before you easily fall into the habit of sleeping in or scrolling on social media, take control of your health. Go for daily walks, cook healthy, home-cooked meals or create a personal stress management strategy.
Empowered action: With warmer weather and an early sunrise working in your favor, summer is a great time to seize the day. There’s no better time than now! If that’s what you desire, but you’re feeling stuck or unclear about where to begin, seek support. Contact a coach, mentor, guide or trusted friend to empower you to live a life that has meaning, fulfillment and great health.
5. Take two
Now that you have a moment to yourself, begin to look forward. Today is always a second chance to live a more aligned life.
What do you desire over the next 6–12 months. What are the small steps you can implement now to make that happen? Maybe you want to finance your first home or prepare for that promotion. It’s a perfect time to look ahead and set yourself in the right direction. Even a boat sailing 1 degree off course will not make it to the final destination. You must know exactly where you’re going and devise a plan of action to get there.
Empowered action: Create a post-busy season journal about what you achieved, what you realized and what you’d like to do differently next year. Create a goal plan that aligns with your personal, professional, health, relationship and financial goals for an incredible finish to 2020.
After taking 5, I guarantee that you will feel refreshed and ready for what’s next. When I coach my clients through the Take 5 Method, they come back to their personal and professional lives feeling more fulfilled, inspired and content.
If I can offer any advice, it’s to TAKE ACTION! This Take 5 Method is powerful and simple. There’s no perfection needed to relax, restore and to feel more like you. Inside your heart, you know exactly what’s needed to feel rejuvenated after months of working hard. Whether you invite one or five of the actions into your life, know that you are taking a positive step in the right direction.
As the year rolls forward, commit to doing something different. Make a sacred promise to yourself. Don’t just bounce back after a busy season; commit to a thriving comeback and watch how your world positively unfolds!