This week, the province of Ontario announced its reopening plan, which is both figuratively and literally, a breath of fresh air.
Ontario residents have been long awaiting a chance to resume some form normalcy and get back outside in group settings to reconnect with others and enjoy the warm weather.
While sunshine is calling our name, there are still workaholic habits that have been created over the last 14 months causing work to bleed into all hours of the day, leading to extensive burnout.
In the workshop I deliver, Boundaries & Burnout: How To Take Control During Covid, one of the key strategies we focus on is identifying where employees struggle the most to switch off work, and how to take time away from work whether it is a short exercise snack throughout the day, or a “staycation” to find some work/life harmony.
As you look to maintain your mental resilience and continue to implement The Hero Mindset in your day to day life, here are five tips to help you plan your reintegration as you disconnect and enjoy the summer ahead.
Do Some Research
Honestly, the best thing to help you begin the fantasy of disconnecting from work is to head over to Google and research activity ideas.
If you type in things like “Activity ideas Toronto” or “Ontario Parks” or “Backyard games” you will find tons of ideas.
Two of my favourite websites are NarCity.com and BlogTo.com since they always post stuff even on the outskirts of the GTA.
It’s also worth thinking back over other years that you had some great memories and ask yourself “What was I doing then?” to trigger ideas.
Is there a friend you haven’t seen in a long time that you would like to connect with?
Did you have a hobby that you once felt too busy to pursue that you could now pick up again?
(Ps. Avoid thinking about international travel!)
Studies show that simply the act of reigniting positive memories can help you reshape how you see yourself and have a profound impact on your mental health.
Build a CAN DO List
In my keynote on The Hero Mindset, the goal is to shift your mindset to think about opportunities and possibilities, despite your current situation.
When I took on the #75HardChallenge to get myself out of a slump last fall, I will always remember a particular moment when I went to a gas station in -15 degree weather.
I stopped to purchase a bottle of water, and the cashier asked me “Are you out for a walk in this weather?”.
I replied, “Sure am!”.
“Well, I guess there is NOT A LOT that you can do…”, she said.
To which I replied, “Maybe, but there is a lot that YOU CAN DO!”.
Even if it’s just a walk, and you may be sick and tired of it, what is it that you CAN DO?
I can tell you from experience, after both myself and my dad have been paralyzed in accidents, when you lose your ability to walk, all you want to do is to be able to go for a walk!
Just like living life with a disability, how we perceive our lives will determine the quality of our life.
What are those things that you CAN DO?
Here are some ideas.
- Stand Up Paddle boarding
- Visit a farm
- Visit a beach
- Sleep more
- Go strawberry picking
- Go for a weekend road trip
- Explore a new lake
- Join outdoor workout classes
- Football, baseball, soccer, basketball, badminton, street hockey
- Play “Minute to Winit” games
- Play backyard cottage games
- Buy and sell on Kijiji or Facebook marketplace – earn some extra cash!
If you find a partner to brainstorm this list with, it can help you accelerate and come up with some more ideas.
Start to build your CAN DO list and keep it somewhere you can see it every day.If you are trying to think of activities to help you disconnect this summer, start by building your CAN DO list. Click To Tweet
Schedule Your Time Off Work
Despite the number of employees who have chosen to not take any of their vacation throughout the last year and opted to continue to work, research shows that when we do choose to take vacation, we can increase our resilience.
And I think it’s fair to argue that if there was ever a time for a vacation, it would be the summer of 2021.
Pre pandemic, one study demonstrated that if you take 11 or more of your vacation days, you are more than 30% likely to receive a raise.
Today, in many of my discussions with manager and people leaders, organizations are consistently concerned about their employees wellbeing since they are not taking vacation days, while employees are concerned that if they take their vacation days that they will be frowned upon or live with some sense of guilt.
Managers need reminders to encourage employees to take time off, and for those employees who are considering it, I will go back to one of my favourite quotes that I would always share when I delivered keynotes while playing with Team Canada, talking about training as an elite athlete.
The question that would always come up was “How do you find time to work out and train so much?”.
Now yes, my job was to be an athlete, but the answer is the same regardless…
“If you don’t make the time, you won’t have the time.”
Whether it’s the gym, a vacation, or a simple act of self-care like I discuss inside my workshops on The Resilience Toolbox, we must make the time and prioritize what’s important to us.
Schedule your time off work today.Whether it’s the gym, a vacation, or a simple act of self-care, we must make the time and prioritize what’s important to us. Click To Tweet
Schedule Your Activities In Advance
Given that many businesses will still be restricted to operating at full capacity when they reopen, we can expect lineups and bookings to be full.
To help avoid this, think about the activities you would like to do now and put them in your calendar in advance.
For example, if you know in the next two to three weeks that a facility or store that you like will be reopening, put a reminder in your calendar the day before so that you don’t forget to be one of the first to call.
If you want to travel somewhere, call today to see what availability looks like and book your activity as soon as possible.
As you do your research, keep an eye out on each website about when the business plans to reopen and what their protocols will be.
As of today, we have 14 weekends left in Canada until Labour Day weekend, at which time “the world tends to resume”. We all know how quick those weekends go by!
Before they fill up without you realizing it, plan what you want your weekends to look like and schedule your activities in advance.
Create a Vision Board
Finally, one of the lessons inside The Resilience Toolbox is called Make Resilience Visual. The purpose is to keep a mental picture at the forefront of your mind to condition your mind on a daily basis towards what you want.
I have used vision boards when I was recovering from paralysis to help me make Team Canada.
I created a hockey specific board when I was playing with the team, as well as created another post sport to create The Sledge Hockey Experience.
Though cutting out magazine articles may be less popular these days, some great websites you can visit for free, high quality image are pixabay.com and unsplash.com. Then go to Canva.com and build your collage.
Canva is super simple, and you can order a poster directly from the website to be sent to your door.
If you have children, this can be an excellent way to engage them helping get excited about the summer ahead and have them participate in creating your summer plans together.
Take the ideas from your CAN DO list and work on programming your mindset with a vision board today.
Despite how long we have been living under restriction, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
We may not have live events in full swing yet in Ontario, but we have the weather we have all been waiting for at our front doorstep.
Instead of working this summer away like most people did in 2020, take time to disconnect this summer and create some space for your own self-care and wellbeing.
Your mind will thank you for it later.
Enjoyed this article? Here are three more to help you develop a resilient mindset:
How To Say “No” And Maintain Your Boundaries
How To Recover From Burnout (One Year Into The Pandemic)
How To Turn Off Work (And Disconnect Completely)
Download your FREE copy of my autobiography, Still Standing: When You Have Every Reason to Give Up, Keep Going here.