Whether you are feeling unnaturally sluggish or just experiencing some end of summer doldrums, you probably could use a fresh start. Renewal is a necessary process of shedding stale, old, backward-looking perspectives and focusing on the new and exciting opportunities ahead.
I love this time of year as a time of beginnings. Fall is upon us, and although many think of spring as a time of renewal, I find September to be when many great new things begin. After a long, hot summer, there are fresh, new beginnings everywhere. Kids start a new grade of school, Jews like me celebrate the New Year with Rosh Hashanah, and businesses kick in new plans for making the most of the remaining year.
Here are 10 easy techniques sure to get you feeling refreshed and new. Try them individually, or even better, try them in order for a complete renewal.
1. Indulge in nature.
One day last week, I woke up feeling a bit edgy, kind of unsettled. I had a lunch appointment and normally would have worked in the house before heading across town just in time for the meeting. Instead I decided to leave a couple of hours earlier and headed across Central Park. As I made my way through the park, I felt my soul relax in the beauty of nature. I marveled at the brilliance of Frederick Law Olmsted, who, in 1858, had the presence of mind to design this amazing release for city living. To think that he created this park before there were cars, planes, phones, radio, movies, TV, internet, and wireless is astounding, and it continues today as the perfect pressure valve for modern living. Just one more marvel that makes living in New York City an awesome experience. Take an hour or two to just sit and breathe in the sights and sounds of the world. You'll be ready to start again with fervor.
2. Get some glorious sleep.
Maybe your summer was full of late-night camp-outs, BBQ parties, and equally as full of work. Take some time to catch up on that lost sleep. Re-establish a habit of getting yourself to bed at a decent hour. Put clean sheets on the bed, lower the lights, read a book, drink some herbal tea, and sink into restful, renewing sleep. If you're having a difficult time sleeping, try stream of consciousness journaling or meditating right before bed. Once you establish a steady sleep cycle, you'll feel like a new person.
3. Clean out your clutter.
A cluttered space means a cluttered mind. Every time I walk into my home or workspace, my eyes are immediately drawn to things that are out of place or are yet to be resolved. Each item adds weight and stress until it’s removed or put in it’s proper place. Let go of all the year's unresolved trappings that have accumulated. Pick one spot, like your desk or closet, and throw out or donate anything that no longer serves a purpose. If you haven't worn it in over a year, you probably won't wear it again. If you no longer need that old receipt or bill stub, recycle it. Be ruthless, and clear out some stagnant energy.
There is a constant onslaught of information coming your way every minute. Technology makes managing it easier, but it also forces you to make more decisions with each text, email, or post. Take a day (or two) to not answer any phone calls, emails, or texts. Tell your friends or colleagues you're taking a vacation day, and then put the phone and computer away. Allow time to be with your thoughts, not the musings and needs of everyone else.
5. Get in touch with your body.
People take their physical being for granted. Simple actions like breathing and eating become forgotten pleasures. A little yoga or meditation can renew your body and your soul. Block out the outside and elevate simple bodily activities to sensory experiences. Once you reconnect with your physical being, you'll feel like you have a brand new friend to help you on your path...you.
6. Connect with loved ones.
The pressure of carrying responsibility can be isolating. People need love and support to ease burdens and perform at their peak. Neglecting loved ones simply adds to the pressure. Break the negative cycle by scheduling quality time with the friends and family who energize you. It may just be a 15-minute phone call or a one-hour lunch, but if you make sure you are truly present for the encounter, you'll release stress and gain newfound energy.
7. Ask for forgiveness.
Guilt is a burdening force that can age you mentally and physically. This is a great time to resolve those transgressions. Start by forgiving yourself. Accept your own humanity and allow yourself to become a better person. That way, even if the offended party can't get past the issue, you will know in your heart that you are still a good person.
The only force that can age you quicker than guilt is holding a grudge. If people have wronged you, it’s time to find your way past their transgressions. You don’t have to love them, or accept them back into your life, but forgiving them will bring much needed resolution, allowing all of you to move on and forward.
9. Connect with the universe.
Regardless of your religious beliefs, there is energy to this universe and you are a major contributor and receiver of that charge. You can ignore it as you wish or harness it to accomplish great things. Use prayer, meditation, or just focused thought to tap in and channel the energy in positive ways. Do this with intent, and you will feel like you can reach your full potential.
10. Reprioritize your activities.
Tasks have a way of naturally accumulating in an illogical and ineffective pattern. Workloads get cloudy and create a sense of loss when it comes to productivity. Soon, the days slog by with little reward. Break the cycle! Reexamine and recommit to a preferred future. Then, you can eliminate useless and futile activity, leaving you clear and ready to achieve success.