We're heading into summer and I know that we're all hoping, and needing, to take a break (maybe even a few breaks). While we may not be able to travel the way we used to, the need for stepping away from work and home routines is even more important than it was pre-covid. We’ve all been navigating our way through a period of tremendous change and upheaval in our work and home routines. We need to recharge!
The case for taking time for resting and recharging has been made over and over again. There is no end to the number of articles, books, blogs, and podcasts that detail the positive impact of "down time" on creativity, happiness, employee retention, problem-solving, and physical and mental health, to name a few.
While you're turning your mind to things that bring you peace, reflect on how you might also contribute to bringing peace to the world around you. These words from the Dalai Lama are as compelling now as they were a few years ago... "I believe that our strong focus on material development and accumulating wealth has led us to neglect our basic human need for kindness and care...." We all have a responsibility to reinstate kindness and care.
I was digesting the Dalai Lama’s words, and thinking about my own response when I bumped into this clip. Those who know me know that I like to keep up with news around the world. I listen to CBC but also CNN, The World, Ryan Jespersen, and a few more. I do not generally listen to or watch America’s Got Talent. But, as I was listening to a CNN broadcast which is usually solely focused on the NEWS, they interviewed a young woman who has had a long journey with cancer and continues meet the challenge of a very poor prognosis. She came to attention of the news media when she won a round of “America’s got Talent”. This is worth a watch.
Despite all of that, she is such a voice for hope. Initially, I kept trying to find links that tell me whether this is legitimate or a hoax and then I thought, maybe that doesn’t matter because it is her message that matters. When she sings she calls herself Nightbirde. The name came from a recurrent dream. After the third night of dreaming this dream, she woke up in the wee hours of the morning and went to the window to see a tree full of singing birds. One of the things that she said after her song was “you can’t wait until life isn’t hard anymore before you decide to be happy”. As one of the hosts said “you are the voice we all need to hear this year”. I agree
Like you, I’ve experienced the highs and lows of living and working differently during covid. There have been a few additional bumps along the road but life goes on. Despite covid or whatever else comes our way, Nightbirde’s message is clear, we have this gift of one life to live. What we do with our life matters. For me, this also ties into the Dalai Lama’s message… we all have a responsibility to reinstate kindness and care.
So, what am I going to do?
I’m going to reinstate my practice of appreciative living. This involves purposefully thinking each morning of the three things I will appreciate during the day and one thing that will give me joy. For example, the wind blowing in the trees, a smile from a friend or a stranger, a hug, connecting with family and friends. Simple things that usually go unnoticed.
I’m going to be more purposeful about connecting with family and friends. This has been something I’ve focused on for a few years but I’m going to take it to the next level by building meaningful connection with someone who I haven’t seen in a while into each day.
I’m going to remember that even when I’m listening to, or interacting with, something or someone that I disagree with, kindness and care are always an option. How might this change the conversation?
Learning as we go, sharing what we know…
In order to return to work and home with energy and passion, it is so important to take time for ourselves and spend time with the people we love. I look forward to hearing the creative ways that you've found to recharge and how you are embracing your responsibility to reinstate kindness and care.
Stay safe, stay well - enjoy summer.
If you feel the need to do a little more reading on these topics:
This is the Harvard Business Review excerpt from the Dalai Lama
Here are a couple of articles that make the connection between rest and creativity and the power of rest (the blog describes rest as both "an act of resistance against the grind culture and an act of self-care")
Here's another that focuses on the neuroscience of relaxation for the science geeks in the crowd
And if that isn't enough, just google relaxation quotes. There are a TON!
For example, Leodardo diVinci wrote, "every now and then go away, have a little relaxation for when you come back to your work, your judgement will be surer".
Here is an article with a few tips for planning a vacation that is truly worth it; one that stimulates the creative juices. This was written pre-covid but many of the tips apply whether you are staying near home or travelling a little further:
move and exercise;
find peaceful, beautiful surroundings;
meet different, interesting people;
be willing to invest/commit;
have a plan.