If you are lucky, you may be reading this while lounging at the beach or traveling on a well deserved summer vacation. The promise of change, at least a change in routine, may be one of the reasons we all love summer. Jobs, relationships, hobbies and health can all be reevaluated in the stillness of the season. This summer, find your purpose and ignite your spark using these 10 easy tools.
There is something magical about writing out your thoughts on a piece of paper. That connection between our hand and our brains begins at birth and only continues into adulthood. With the rise in technology, we may be losing this important conduit for creativity.
Consider waking up first thing in the morning and taking just five minutes to write out your thoughts. In one of my favorite books, Julia Cameron talks about the benefit of "morning pages" in The Artist's Way. I have found this a great tool for just sorting out the noise in your brain that may prevent you from your next steps.
Stress reduction, anxiety relief, blood pressure control -- the medicinal benefits of meditation continue to be proven in research. Like journaling, meditation does not need to be complicated-just set aside 5-10 minutes of time to practice keeping your mind blank. Think of your thoughts like cars passing down a highway, one thought driving by like the next.
I love to read but often find myself reading books in the medical field or related to my family. Picking up a book on a topic that is unusual for you, helps stretch your mind and your imagination. In my hands now is Joel Osteen's Everyday Is A Friday.
Assess Your Personality
Many times, I have noticed that my patient's core personalities are not matched to their professions or relationships. I think understanding yourself is key to making a decision as to whether a job, or a relationship, is the right fit for you. There are so many personality tests available online. I would consider doing one to get a better sense of how you think, get motivated and work!
Survey Your Friends
Still not sure of what your next steps are? Survey your friends and loved ones. Often they see you and see through some of the issues you may be struggling with. Have at least five different people answer key questions for you, on paper. Some questions may include:
When am I at my best?
What do you think makes me excited?
What are my weaknesses?
What is my dream job?
Do I take care of myself?
Sometimes getting out of our own heads is the best tool we have!
Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
Break the routine this Summer. Try a new sport, visit a new destination or simply do something you have always been scared to do. Pushing through boundaries pushes us to think differently and change the course of our lives. We visited a deserted island this summer and had a chance to see nature in its rawest form.
Have fun and set a fun budget. I think we all are focused on kids and work but not on FUN. Carve out at least tw hours per week to have fun- whether alone, with a partner or kids. The only rule- it has to also be fun for you.
Go ahead -- sleep in or just go to bed early. Summer calls for rest and the sun seems to demand it. Consistent sleep is one of the keys to an active and creative mind. I don't think any major decisions should be made when we are sleep deprived or not at our best health.
Exercise helps our hearts but also our mind and our spirit. Treat exercise like a moving meditation- an opportunity to clear your mind, move your body and heal your spirit. The connection between our minds and our physical self is undeniable and the two feed off each other to fuel your fire. (5)
Last, but most certainly not least, eat well. Food is the fuel and the raw material for energy, clarity and creativity. Eat junk and your thoughts will be jumbled- and junky. Switch to cleaner, whole foods and as one of my patients said best, "you almost vibrate at a higher level."
Use these 10 tools to find your SPARK and turn on your inner light this summer!