Mary Olson-Menzel is the founder and CEO of MVP Executive Development and co-founder of Spark Insight Coaching.
Every once in a while, life throws you a few curve balls – sometimes several all at once. That pretty much describes my Summer of 2023. While I am grateful for a thriving coaching business and the usual, happy chaos of family life, it was the tragic, sudden death of my niece, coupled with the added stress of my aging mother being hospitalized, that forced me to call a time-out.
It’s times like these that remind you of what is truly important in life. And when the curve balls come, it’s how you handle them and what you learn that matters.
As I get older, I believe that balancing out the busy seasons of work with some planned downtime is very important to maintain clarity about my career and my personal life.
Therefore, last month I took a mini summer hiatus, spending intentional time with my family to relax, recharge, and reconnect. Doing so enables me to come back ‘switched on’ and focus on how I can bring light to my family, friends, my clients, and my work.
How are you staying connected and motivated as you come out of the “dog days” of summer? How are you creating balance for yourself in order to find resilience when you need it? What are you doing to refresh your body, mind, and spirit so that you can bring that balance back to your teams and your workforce?
Some of my favorite ways to practice self-care are quite simple and you can do them from anywhere. The important thing is to create an intention and follow through with this commitment to yourself and your well-being.
Morning meditation: What better way to start your day than with an inspiring and motivating meditation? Daily meditation has been proven to offer so many benefits to your body and mind. It not only reduces stress and anxiety, but research shows that it also helps enhance your mood, promotes healthy sleep patterns, and boosts cognitive skills. I personally like the Insight Timer app. It has thousands of guided meditations from great teachers and will help you apply your renewed clarity to daily life.
Move your body: Immediately after my meditation, I pop out of bed for a workout before I start my work day. You feel more balanced, uplifted, and energized all day. In addition, morning exercise means that I’m getting my workout in and not being distracted by work or family as I might be later in the day. My workouts consist of riding the Peloton, weight training (a must, especially for women over 40!), yoga, Pilates, or a brisk walk with my dog.
Massage it out:. For those of us with busy schedules and lives, a regular massage, if you can swing it, is a really great way to practice self-care.
Connect with loved ones: And last but not least, spend time with family and friends. Surrounding yourself with people who love, appreciate, and want only the best for you, is a fundamental way to unplug and recharge. Laugh and unwind a bit after a long work week. Research shows that having a strong social network can help improve your mood and provide a sense of belonging.
How does this translate to the workplace?
Nurturing our teams by practicing reflection and gratitude, in particular, will inspire them and contribute to better results and greater overall success. These powerful tools are the hallmarks of empathetic leadership. And as a leader, it all starts with you.
If you can, take a little time to reassess what is important in your life, both in the workplace and at home. It doesn’t have to be a hiatus, it can be a weekend, a day or even a few hours.
Consider organizing a Gratitude & Goals meeting, where every team member has the opportunity to look their colleagues in the eyes, tell them what they appreciate about them and give examples about how they have had a positive impact on their work this year. After they’ve gone around the room expressing gratitude, it’s time to brainstorm one thing that each team member can do to help achieve team goals and create success for the rest of the year.
September is a good time for the second half of the-year check-in, too. What’s your focus for the second half of this year? Where do you want to be at this time next year? Those big plans, goals, and benchmarks you’re planning for the last four months of the year and October will benefit from your own review of what’s been working, and where improvements can be made. Tweak what you can now so you end the year on a high!
What’s important is when you come back full speed ahead in September you can be kind to yourself, and assess where you are today, personally and professionally. The challenges, the opportunities, the progress, and the silver linings, too! Doing so will provide the perspective you need to design your “future” in a way that works for you and your unique leadership style. The Fall will be here before you know it!”