By Marilyn Tam
It’s the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer and you’re supposed to be relaxing and having fun. Yet you still have work to do and the expectation that you should be taking it easy is giving you more stress.
Periodically, especially during summer, when others are in full on play and party mode, dear ones seem to think that by guilting or pressuring me to relax and to take time off from business is going to solve whatever work challenges I have. It’s summer they say, you should be hanging out and slowing down, don’t work! We have been conditioned to think of summer as a time for fun, rest, play and no work or study. What if you are faced with tons of work and or study?
Other people’s expectations that you should be carefree and ready to dive into playtime is causing you even more stress than your responsibilities. If you are like me, the work you are doing is rewarding and enjoyable. It is not a case of drudgery vs. boundless joy. There is a balance between work, time with loved ones, and relaxation.
Summertime, your friends and family are going to be demanding more of your time, but oftentimes the workload continues without pause. How do you balance your time so that you are fulfilling what makes you and your loved ones happy? My five steps to de-stress works in all situations, just keep what you most value in your mind and follow the five steps below whenever you feel stressed or overwhelmed.
“Summer was a book of hope. That’s why I loved and hated summers. Because they made me want to believe.” — Benjamin Alire Sáenz
- Pause — take a deep breath, then another and then another. Repeat until you feel the adrenaline coursing through your veins begin to slow down. If you have to remove yourself from the immediate surroundings temporarily to regain composure, do so if at all possible. A mini time out will help you gain some perspective before you say or do something you may regret.
- Assess — what is the underlying issue? Who, what, when and how? Ask the questions with no judgment and listen to the answers with an open mind.
- Gather — why did this happen, what are the causes? What are the possible solutions and the consequences of the various options? Involve all relevant parties as much as possible.
- Come to consensus and Decide — based on the above information; determine the appropriate next steps to resolve the issue and to prevent new ones. Always keep your life purpose in mind in your consideration – how does this line up with what you most value?
- Execute — resolve the situation with commitment and the comfort that together you have assessed, analyzed and come up with the best solution for all concerned. Repeat any of the above steps as needed as you proceed; the situation can change and you have to be prepared to adjust to the circumstances. Give thanks for the lessons; each big change is a step in our life journey and also an occasion for growth and increased capacity for joy and compassion.
Pause. Assess. Gather. Decide. Execute. PAGDE will help you determine the best course for your current dilemma and also give you insight into how to handle future life changes. Relax – by just asking the questions during each life change, you are already on the course to increased opportunity for joy!
Remember Eustress — defined as “moderate or normal psychological stress interpreted as being beneficial for the experiencer.” We always have some stress in our lives, that is what makes life rewarding, like a roller coaster ride or a gripping movie — the challenges and the ups and downs makes the life journey more fun. So have a fabulous summer, full of play, work and a bit of stress too.
Marilyn Tam’s latest book, “The Happiness Choice” shows how you can live a life of happiness, health and success. It’s her way of giving back to the world for all the blessings she’s received. The Happiness Choice tells the stories and insights from Marilyn and many experts, including, Jack Canfield, Joan Borysenko, Harville Hendrix, Arielle Ford and others, on how to live the life of your dreams. The book was ranked #3 top business book, and won the Silver Medal in the Global eBook Awards.
Marilyn Tam is an international selling author, speaker, entrepreneur, humanitarian and former CEO of Aveda, President of Reebok Apparel Products & Retail Group and VP of Nike and the Founder and Executive Director of Us Foundation. www.MarilynTam.com She is a regular blogger on Huffington Post.