It’s hard to believe that we are already into May and that summer is just around the corner. Summer in the Rocky Mountains is about getting outdoors. It typically runs June-September and people around here don’t like to waste a minute of it. There’s lots of activities to choose from, too – biking, hiking, camping, mountain climbing, boating and paddle boarding, and horseback riding, which I love.
It’s a time for barbecues, and spending as much time as possible on your deck. It’s a time to enjoy life in the natural world we are surrounded by.
That got me thinking about how we live our lives day to day, not just in the summer but all the time. Maybe you’ve heard the saying “Your health is your wealth.” My very basic premise when I work with people is that true well-being is about a lot more than the right diet and exercise, as important as these are. Good nutrition and activity are foundational. But what about those other aspects of your life – your spirit, your career, your family and community relationships, how you go about your daily round?
We all seem to have busier lives these days and it’s easy to put off doing what you love until you “have more time” or find work/life balance (seriously??) I don’t know about you, but I still have the same 24/7 I’ve always had. As time goes on, in my own life, I’m finding myself less inclined to wait and more interested in making time for what’s important to me.
The good news about living life more fully isn’t necessarily about making sweeping life changes, unless that’s something you want to do. The mindfulness movement that has been so prevalent the last several years is about living more fully in the moment, and appreciating our current experiences.
So how we can make the best of today and live fully now? Here’s a few thoughts:
- Keeping a gratitude journal is a surefire way to wake up to what’s good in our lives. Jotting down 3 – 5 things first thing in the morning or at the end of the day is a proven way of helping to keep our focus on appreciating what we have, rather than what we don’t have. The more we appreciate what we have today, the more we realize how much we have to appreciate!
- Take a break to check in with your partner, child, best friend or colleague. A quick “thinking of you” call does not have to take long, and will leave both of you feeling more connected.
- If you’re fortunate to work from home as I do, taking a ten-minute break to throw tennis balls for my dogs is a win-win. They get play and exercise, and I get to enjoy the sunshine and laugh at their goofy antics.
- Now’s the time to stop at a roadside fruit stand or farmer’s market. Pick up some just picked fruit or fresh veggies and create your own farm-to-table dinner tonight.
- If you’ve been feeling stale in your professional or business life, look for a way to shake things up a bit. How can you bring more value to your clients or colleagues, or both? How can you bring more of what you do best to your daily work? Get creative.
- Think about what you loved to do as a child. Reading books, picking flowers, going to the zoo or a museum, writing, drawing, biking – think about whatever feeds your soul and do that.
- Unplug from technology and plug into real life. As we’ve become more and more connected to our devices, we’ve become less connected to ourselves and those around us. A 2017 Harvard Business Review article written by Vivek H. Murthy, former U.S. Surgeon General stated that “Loneliness is a growing health epidemic. We live in the most technologically connected age in the history of civilization, yet rates of loneliness have doubled since the 1980s. Today, over 40% of adults in America report feeling lonely, and research suggests that the real number may well be higher.” Research shows that close ties with family and friends benefit us emotionally and physically, and can influence long-term health.
- Slow down. Summer is traditionally the time we take things a bit slower so give yourself that gift. Make time for the people and things you enjoy. Spend a Saturday afternoon reading on your porch.
Those are just a few of my ideas, and ones that work for me. How can you build more well-being into your life every day? I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas on the subject, so post a comment below.