We’ve wrapped up school shopping, dropped all the supplies in their lockers on back-to-school night, and had one last celebration with friends to cap off the summer. Eighth grade starts tomorrow, and the first-day outfits are prepped and ready for the morning. Hanging out with the twins tonight, the anticipation and excitement for back to school is electric.
It got me thinking… What if we had that same opportunity as adults, to restart fresh once a year?
Looking back, summertime provided my kids the chance to take a break and reflect. They’ve had two full months with a release from the pressure to study, learn, do homework, and maintain their grades. They’ve had the opportunity to take some time away from their school relationships, letting their friendships breathe a bit, and gaining some space. Summertime was the break they needed to reset.
Where there was middle school drama, the dust has settled.
Where there was homework stress, there is now new energy.
Where there was fatigue, there is a new energy and invigoration.
So, as working professionals, how can we create that same energy and invigoration that my kids have for tomorrow morning? Wherever you are on your career path, whatever your journey looks like, what if you had the chance for an annual restart?
When I began thinking about this, it initially seemed impossible to me. Running a business, there’s not a lot of opportunity for a regular reset. As a parent, it feels the same. With deadlines and full calendars, there’s not much time for slowing down, letting the dust settle, or releasing the stress. Finding the kind of opportunities my kids had this summer to reset feels unrealistic.
That said, I looked a little deeper into what was creating that invigorating feeling for my kids, and I uncovered three ways we can create some that same excitement….
- Try Something New – One of the things my twins are so excited about in eighth grade is their first year of Spanish. Like many of us would be, they’re a little nervous about taking on this new skill and all that comes with that. But, they’re also anticipating the chance to do something new. With that in mind, consider this… Is there a new project, a new challenge, or a new position professionally that will stretch you and reinvigorate you? Personally, outside of work, what’s that one thing you’ve always wanted to learn to do?
- Reconnect – Watching my kids, one of the other things they’re looking forward to is reigniting friendships that have cooled over the summer. They’re excited to see classmates, share classes with friends they’ve missed, and build stronger relationships through the new year. As adults, one of the fruits of our hard work is the relationships we’re building with coworkers and clients. So who is there on your list that you’d be excited to reconnect with? Is there an old coworker, employer, or friend that you’d like to grab lunch, coffee, or happy hour with?
- Create “Mini Summers” – As a kid, vacation isn’t optional. It’s required. As adults, we live in a country where Americans who get paid time off rarely take it. In the United States, the average American took 54% of their available vacation in the last 12 months. Slowing down is hard, and sometimes the cost can be a barrier. That said, creating time away is critical to maintaining a healthy balance. The concept of mini summers simply means scheduling time for a day away, long weekends, and even longer vacations to help reset.
We may never recapture that feeling of a summer away or going back to the first day of school that our kids still enjoy. That doesn’t mean there aren’t some simple ways to get reinvigorated about our work and personal lives. Looking ahead to the next few months, let’s take some hints from the annual reset our kids are enjoying and create some of our own!