Ok, so the rays are raging, the birds are performing a fabulous symphony each morning and the crickets and frogs are partying way beyond 10:00 pm these days. So what to do to get the best from these “Dog Days of Summer?”

In many organizations the pace slows down a little during the summer with so many people on vacation. As a consultant this is a little concerning, but I am learning to capitalize on the seasonal flows. My dogs Chow Mein and Wonton provide me with great coaching, so I thought I’d pass on eight simple tips they have shared with me. These tips will help you in your work and personal life and are fun to do!

  1. Take a vacation! – Speaking of vacations, there is a lot of information proving how valuable it is to get away from it all. It doesn’t have to be two weeks in Europe. Even just a long weekend can reap many benefits- it helps you re-focus, think more creatively, de-stress and re-energize. My dogs recommend a beach of any kind and I completely agree! If you are a leader, encourage your employees to take some time off. If you are an employee, be bold; say it with me, “Vacation is beneficial! May I have a day or week off?”
  2. Get outside – Enjoy the outdoors and get some exercise, it does wonders for our brains and our bodies. Studies show it is very beneficial to be outside and besides, it is more fun than exercising in a gym! I like to walk with my dogs and they love it too! Last week my husband and I went kayaking with friends and it was so peaceful and beautiful to be on a lake and away from daily stress and noise. Believe me, I was not thinking about work when I was paddling across the lake! Here’s a great free app to help you follow trails and enjoy the outdoors.
  3. Relax with friends and family – especially your dogs! – Spending time relaxing with others that support us does so much to boost our morale, encourage us and help us view things with a more positive perspective. Summer is a great time for a casual barbecue, picnic, or drive in the county. These activities take little effort and reap lots of special times and wonderful memories!
  4. Share your toys – My dogs have taught me how to be more generous. They often share toys and take turns doing tricks for a snack. They have each other’s back! We humans often have a little more time during the summer to spend mentoring others, coaching and giving back. When we give of ourselves, we also gain so much. Giving is shown to boost our spirits and is also proven to have health benefits such as lessening impact of chronic pain and depression!
  5. Nap – Wonton is often seen lying on his back, sleeping with all four legs straight up. I envy his ability to sleep anytime and anywhere! Studies show that a short nap of 20-30 minutes can improve alertness, performance, and our moods. If you can get away to take a short nap during your day you may be surprised at how much more productive you are!
  6. Eat healthy and fresh! – I have been working hard this summer to lose weight and eat better. I am seeing a difference in my alertness and my energy level, as well as the fact that I can wear my summer clothes again! Summer is such a good time to take advantage of local farmer’s markets and enjoy the bountiful fresh vegetables and fruits. We all know fresh food is better for us and Chow Mein agrees, he faithfully eats his carrots all summer long! Here’s a great app to help you plan your next picnic – don’t forget the forks!
  7. Be present, life is short – My dogs have taught me much about being more present, letting go and appreciating the moment. Ever notice how dogs don’t hold grudges? After boarding them last weekend, they were thrilled the minute we picked them up. They were too happy to worry about why we left them and why we spent time with our friend’s dog on our vacation. Their example is simple, live in the present and let things go! I am working on this every day and it makes my life much more enjoyable when I do!
  8. Give and get lots of hugs and kisses – I can be more vulnerable with my dogs than anyone else. It is so easy to look into their big brown eyes and give them some lovin’. Why? Because their affection is offered freely, generously and without hesitation. I so appreciate their constant example of unconditional love. They both have crates in my office and spend most the day by my side. May I be the kind of co-worker and friend that they are!

Wishing you the best of summer! Enjoy those dog days and don’t forget to take care of yourself and enjoy the gifts of this wonderful season!