If New Year’s is the time for resolutions, Labor Day is the time to sit back, take a deep breath and decompress. Summer is supposed to be fun and laid back, but for many of us, it’s a whirlwind capped off by back to school craziness. September is a good time to reflect on how much you’ve accomplished in the past year and take some time for yourself. This will help you find the energy and motivation to end the year with the bang.
Since most of us don’t have the option of taking the entire month off and run off to a spa with a life coach, trainer and beautician, here are seven inexpensive ways to help you recharge in September.
1. Make your own personal soundtrack. Include the songs that make you feel inspired, motivated and pumped up. You can use a service like Spotify to compile a playlist for free or use the CDs and MP3s that you already own.
Even better, you can share your playlist with your friends and ask them to share theirs with you! And once you have your soundtrack, blast it while you exercise, do housework or simply dance around the house. This is practically guaranteed to reduce the amount of stress you are carrying around in your body and help you to feel focused and motivated.
2. Make dates for lunch, tea or drinks with old friends. Catching up and reconnecting is good for the mind and spirit. Be sure to pencil in a lot of time so that you can relax and lose yourself in the conversation instead of watching the clock.
3. Take time to get to know somebody new. Too often, as adults, we forget to open up our lives to new friends. Think about somebody you’ve met recently and would like to get to know better and invite them out. Look for free and interesting activities, for example a free day at the local art museum. This will give you a “reason” for asking and serve as a natural conversation starter.
4. Dedicate time every week to lose yourself in a great book. Don’t forget that many libraries have e-books that can be downloaded to your reader as well as traditional paper books. If you aren’t a fan of reading, try audio books (also available at the library), graphic novels or any other culturally-enriching activity that you enjoy but never seem to be able to make time for.
5. Find your ideal sleep schedule. Too many of us have completely crazy sleep schedules and wind up feeling tired, grouchy and unfocused most of the time. Start making sleep a priority. It will take some trial and error but once you find a time to go to bed so that you wake up refreshed, stick with it. Getting enough sleep is the best beauty aid and sleep tonic that you can get and it’s free!
(Note: if you find that you can’t get a good night’s sleep no matter what you do, it’s worth the co-pay to see a doctor.)
6. Do something good for somebody else. It might seem counter-intuitive, but for most people, doing something altruistic, like volunteer work produces a natural high. Serving others help us feel more grounded, humble, grateful and shows us how very much we have to give to the world. Giving really is better than receiving. For best results, find a way to give that makes good use of your natural talents and interests.
7. Get plenty of sunlight and fresh air. For most of us, September is a month of more moderate temperatures. The weather is cooling down so that it’s comfortable to be outdoors all day and there is still plenty of sunshine. Soak up as much of it as you can in anticipation of the shorter days coming in the winter. Give all of your senses a workout as you enjoy the sights, scents, sounds and textures that Mother Nature has to offer.
What are your favorite ways to relax and recharge?