From Dr. Jane's Notebook

Summertime…  time to turn!

When I was growing up on the beaches of Miami, local radio stations were famous for their musical reminders not to get sunburned. Every 20 minutes, a special chime would sound followed by the message “time to turn” which signaled us listeners that it was time to change positions, apply more sunscreen, and most importantly, not to fall asleep on the beach. Later on in life, the phrase “time to turn” has continued to remind me that change is a good thing, time flies so I shouldn’t sleep my life away, and ideally, I should try to avoid getting burned! Here are a few more thoughts on the matter.

·        Summer is a great time to re-examine your life map. The months of summer are much like crossroads and intersections between busy years. These three short months lend themselves to taking a fresh look at our lives and catching up on some badly needed rest before the cycle begins again. During the rest of the year, we make tons of decisions and respond to another ton of decisions that get made for us. Summer however offers a great opportunity to look back at the personal goals we have been pursuing, consider whether we are still on track or have been blown off course, and brainstorm about new goals and next steps we need to take. Going a step further, when we take time to write down these thoughts, we’re actually programming our brains to carry out our plans.

·        Take time to feel better about yourself.  I often ask people what they need or want for themselves. A frequent response is… better self-esteem and more self-worth. While these two items may seem difficult to achieve, they are really quite easy.  The quickest way to raise your self-esteem…. is to learn something new. Learn almost anything and you will instantly feel smarter. The quickest way to increase your sense of self-worth… is to challenge yourself  to accomplish something. It doesn’t matter whether you take a class, do something athletic, or pick up a musical instrument, the object is to have fun and our world is full of possibilities.

·        Focus on just one goal at a time. One of the problems with making changes occurs when we put too much pressure on ourselves. It’s easy to overcomplicate the plan and overwhelm ourselves before we even start. On the other hand, we may underestimate the necessary effort and give up too easily due to lack of planning. Take time to focus on one thing at a time. You may remember the words of Kevin Costner, who portrayed a baseball pitcher in the movie For the Love of the Game. Just before winding up for the pitch, he would think to himself, “Clear the Zone” of any distractions which might otherwise invade his concentration.

·        Take time off from your usual stresses and strains. Summer is a great time to get out from under the usual stresses and strains of life. Prolonged stress can absolutely lead to depression and prevent us from enjoying even the most pleasurable of times. An unhealthy level of stress is literally a killjoy that will interfere with your usual interests, your motivation to try new things, your overall health and the health of your relationships. To stave off this blight, take a break from your usual routines and find new ways to play.

With summer upon us, this is the perfect time to re-examine your way of staying alive. Even small changes make a difference in your perspective and energy level. In three short months, the summer will end and work days will once again grow longer. Hopefully you will look back upon this summer feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. Uhhhh… excuse me but I just heard that chime again and its time to turn!   

©Copyright, 2010, Jane R. Rosen-Grandon. All rights reserved.            

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