Savoring the summer: Reminders to pause and reconnect with what matters most

May 23, 2019  //  FOUND IN: Updates & Resources,

Memorial Day is just around the corner, signaling the unofficial start of summer.

As the days become longer and warmer, many employees will be planning vacations or other activities with family and friends.

Whether you’re hitting the road or planning a “staycation,” there are many ways to make the most of your summer and reconnect with what matters the most.

Here’s a rundown of some important tips to help you take intentional moments for rest and enjoyment — and even a few discounts and perks that will help you savor the pleasant moments even more.

Find the time to pause. Wherever you may be, find the time to rest and recharge in the midst of busy activities. Everyone can get important moments of recovery each day when they find opportunities to slow down and notice the world around then.

A five-minute break in the middle of the day — to walk outside and enjoy flowers or trees, to connect with a friend or colleague, or to slowly savor a snack — can provide a valuable way to sustain energy and focus. Try to find time each day to intentionally pause, even if only for a few moments.

Experience nature. Many research studies support the positive effects of being in natural settings on both physical and mental health. Outdoor activities or a break outside is enough to lift your mood or inspire a sense of awe.

Take advantage of local gardens or walking paths. When possible, make a goal to walk outside instead of through building corridors. Tune in to the sounds of birds, smell of flowers and easy rolling of clouds in the sky, and use this time as a moment of rest.

Be present. When your mind is full of tasks and your attention is pulled in many different directions, it can be easy to lose sight of what is right in front of you.

Bring an attitude of curiosity and mindfulness to your activities. Being present in everyday activities, as well as special events, can allow you to truly appreciate each moment. By practicing present-focused awareness, you have the opportunity to become absorbed in pleasant experiences and fully benefit from their positive effects.

Selectively disconnect. With the many demands of a busy schedule, it can be hard to disconnect from work, social media or other personal tasks.

How can you temporarily step away from some of these demands in order to give yourself a moment of rest? If you are taking vacation time (or even a day off) from work, make a goal to step back from work emails and concerns whenever possible. Allow yourself the chance to disconnect from some aspects of your life in order to reconnect with those activities that refresh your energy and bring you meaning and joy.

Roll with it. If you have a trip or event coming up, it may be tempting to plan and prepare every detail. However, rarely does life go completely according to plan. Allow yourself to roll with whatever surprises come — be flexible, maintain a sense of humor and let yourself experience a bit of spontaneity. You may be surprised by unanticipated joys and opportunities, if you allow yourself to be open to them.

Take advantage of exclusive deals: If you do want to take a vacation or just get away for a day, there are plenty of exclusive offers available to Michigan Medicine employees to help you do just that. For instance, you can get a discounted rate at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa in Traverse City, Michigan, or the Great Wolf Lodge in Sandusky, Ohio. If you want to go further away, Avis, Hertz and other car rental companies will give you great deals, as well.

Or just take a moment to freshen up your home or garden, making it a place where you can relax and take a breath.

No matter what steps you take to manage your mental health, there are always resources available to faculty and staff through the Office of Counseling and Workplace Resilience.

“Our office can help connect you to all of the wonderful healing resources that are within our communities, said Kathleen Robertson, director of the office. “There is great power in the resources that are available to us, if we pause and notice them.”