“Take the Mundane Out Of Monday!” and appreciate every season as an opportunity for growth” –– Beth Kuhel
A sure sign that summer is over is the return of school buses’ flashing stop lights back on the streets, Halloween decorations and costumes on the shelves and the tips of Oaks, Maples and Buckeye trees shedding their green exterior to reveal the burnt red and yellow tone at their tips. The air’s a bit crisper and when a cloud appears, a sudden chill sets in. The smell of burning leaves and roasting chestnuts soon will fill the air and a favorite sweatshirt is becoming more appealing than short sleeves.
I love autumn and all the activities related to the season; long runs in the park where my feet hop over and crunch fallen acorns, hot spiced cider, football games, tail gate parties, and switching my wardrobe to a more layered look. The truth is that every year upon its’ return, autumn’s arrival seems more miraculous. It’s a time for reflection, planning and self-improvement. But with all of my appreciation for autumn and its glory, I still feel some occasional pangs of longing for the recent season past, my favorite season, the summer.
The best way to appreciate and be happy with the passing of summer (or for that matter, any season you favor) is to embrace the following season! Although you can’t control the change of seasons or the fact that time marches on, you can control how you relate to the change. The challenge is that when we’ve had a great summer, it’s not so easy to look forward to it being over. Letting go of summer can be one of the hardest seasons to let go of as summer evokes memories of a more care-free time; we shed our heavy layered clothing, enjoy picnics, outdoor concerts, trips to the beach and barbecues. Adjusting to the fall can even make it harder if you’ve experienced an amazing vacation this summer. (Maybe that’s why we call autumn the “fall season?”)
Those who traveled this summer to a beautiful, exotic or interesting place will return home and feel a certain tinge of the blues; The laundry awaits you along with hundreds of unread e-mails and the knowledge that your next big break from your routine won’t be anytime soon makes it a bit harder to be upbeat. After a great trip the first thing most of us do is recall how marvelous our trip was; we review pictures, relate stories to friends and mull over and over in our own minds all the good times had. While all of this is fine for a few days or even a week, eventually we need to adjust and adapt to reality and infuse our everyday life with the elevation we experienced during a great holiday break.
After spending a blissful week in Colorado this summer, hiking, running, mountain biking, attending concerts, lectures, eating delicious food and enjoying the bright blue rocky mountain skies, dry air, splendid wildflowers and cool evenings, it was somewhat of a rude awakening returning to my comfortable life in the Midwest where we’ve endured a record-breaking rainy summer following a long, snowy winter and a spring so brief, I think I missed it.
My first reaction to returning home was probably a normal response; I felt a culture shock in that most people I saw were in business or street clothes but the whole town didn’t wreak of hikers and cyclist returning from a day long excursion deep in the mountains. I missed Colorado and momentarily was fixated on how superior the living is out there.
Knowing I had clients awaiting me, articles to write and speaking engagements to prepare forced me to get real with my situation. Here’s what I did to shake off the vacation and post summer blues. I can suggest this to anyone who has normal mood swings as a strategy for getting your mojo back.
How to immerse yourself in your routine with joy after a break that you wished wouldn’t end
1. Be thankful for having had the experience and for returning in one piece! Seriously folks, many people go away and get sick once they get there or get injured while on vacation. Be glad you came home healthy (assuming you did) and focus on that for a while.
2. Look at your pictures one last time, savor the memories, and say to yourself: I’m so lucky to have had this amazing experience! I am more refreshed for having had a break and I’m soooo lucky to have experienced this and now it’s time to show myself I’m a trooper and I have something to accomplish in my life.
3. Connect with positive people where you currently live!
4. Immediately create a to do list and chalk off each item as you complete the task.
5. Continue to practice or pursue one positive behavior or experience you had when you were away. If you took a yoga or a cooking class and enjoyed that, sign up for a series at home and have your beautiful memories in mind when taking the class. I personally enjoyed fruit with my breakfast and delighted in seeing all the wildflowers when I was away. So I decided to have a similar breakfast at home and take a run in our local park where there are also beautiful wildflowers (albeit not as magnificent as the ones I saw in Colorado) but I was more alert to them now than before I went. Mimicking some of the activities I enjoyed when I was on vacation while at home allows me to bring the elevation of my get-away back into my everyday life.
6 Jump back into your work with gusto. Breakdown your week into tasks per day and check off each task as you complete it. You’ll find this will get you back in the groove and you’ll actually feel good about being productive again. Separate work tasks from personal tasks and try to balance how many you complete per day. By the middle of the week you’ll already begin to acclimatize and build your momentum for managing your responsibilities.
7. Do something nice for someone else both at work and in your personal life. Extending yourself to someone else (who most likely didn’t just return from a vacation) allows you to tap into your “higher self,” deepens your appreciation for what you already have, increases your sense of connection to those in your community (and in your sphere of influence) and infuses your life with greater meaning and pleasure. After the first few days back in town there is always some volunteer organization that could use my help and/or a person I know who could use emotional support. Attending a meeting to help a cause helps remind me of my association with people I value and to a worthwhile cause that could use my support. Reaching out to help another person and a philanthropic cause helps me feel reconnected to my roots and gets me centered again. There are always people asking for coaching assistance who can’t afford my services. I found donating my time to coach a few clients after I returned from my trip made me feel good about giving without expecting any reciprocation.
8. Find some activity you enjoy that’s tied to Autumn. Whether you go for a ride in the country to see the change of leaves, take a walk in nature, go apple picking at a nearby orchard or enjoy a new good book with a cup of hot cider, make time to do something special for yourself! Every season has something to offer and if the weather doesn’t change much where you live, try to schedule a trip to enjoy the change of seasons somewhere because some change is always good!
Beth is Founder and President of Get Hired, LLC. She advises students on how to bridge the gap from school to career. Beth is the co-author of From Diploma to Dream Job: Five Overlooked Steps to a Successful Career. Her coaching assists students and career changers to successfully match their needs, interests, passions, skills, and personal goals with the needs of a sustainable industry in a sustainable location. She is a resource for print and online media and offers workshops for University Career Service Departments, Executive Recruiters, Outplacement Services, College Guidance Counselors and College Alumni Associations. See website for more details about Beth’s services www.fromdiploma2dreamjob.com. Beth’s Webinar was sponsored by George Washington University’s Career Services Dept. for their worldwide alumni association: Leverage Your College Diploma. You can follow Beth on twitter @BethKuhel