CAPS Foundation: Is Your Summer Slipping Away From You?

2016-07-26 15_31_47-July KeyNotes 2016.docx [Read-Only] [Compatibility Mode] - WordBy FREMA ENGEL, MSW, Mental Health Expert, Psychotherapist and Chair of CAPS Peer Support Program
Before you know it, summer will be over. Have you taken a break?  Are you using the hot weather, school vacation and family and friends being more available as a chance for gatherings and fun activities?

Many people see the slowdown in business and more relaxed, slower pace as a great opportunity to network, go after more business or work on marketing materials, write an article, or catch up on the 101 ideas they haven’t had time for during their busy months.  It’s true that summer may be a great opportunity for this.

But summer is also a great time to enjoy life … the long days and slower pace mean there’s more time to spend with your children, partner, family members and friends.

The value of stepping away from your business

Are you using the summer to give your brain and body a rest and to reconnect with the important people in your life?  For an idea of how you rate, see how many items you can answer ‘yes’ to the following 10 items.

  1. I’ve planned or I’ve taken a vacation away or a stay-vacation during the summer.
  2. I’ve blocked out one day in my weekly schedule (excluding weekends) for the rest of the summer to do a fun activity with my children or family.
  3. My partner and I have scheduled an afternoon alone to ‘go on a date’ and will do this weekly for the rest of the summer.
  4. I’ve spent a whole day reading a book and I’m going to do it again.
  5. I’ve taken some naps in the afternoon or just allowed myself to have free time to sit and do nothing.
  6. Everyday I’m doing a little outdoor exercise:  a bike ride, walk, tennis or golf game, gardening or swimming.
  7. I spend as much time as I can outdoors, enjoying nature and getting away from the concrete, noise and air pollution.
  8. I’m getting together with friends whom I don’t see enough during the year.
  9. I’m enjoying being creative with my hands or doing some physical work, that’s totally different from my regular work.
  10. I can say that my family and I have had had some great experiences together this summer — and we’ve been smiling and laughing a lot!

While this list of questions is not at all a scientific study, your answers should help you see how much of a break you’re really taking.  If you answered ‘yes’ to at least 7 items, you’re using the summer well to recharge your batteries (but why not go for a 10?).  Less than 7 means — get out of the office now!  Take a real break from work!  Your brain and body will thank you for the time you let it regenerate.  When you gear up for work again, you’ll notice how much more creativity, energy and clarity you have for your work.

This is a good time for us to also remember how tough our business life is on us and on our families, and what a sacrifice it is for everyone.  Being away from home, being preoccupied or overwhelmed with our work and not always having the time for our spouse or partner, our children, our parents or the other important people in our lives has a huge impact on our family relationships, on their lives and on their feelings about us.  Summer is an opportunity to give back to them.  The time and activities you spend with them during the summer can heal hurts, clear up misunderstandings and resolve conflicts, lower stress and show everyone close to you how much you care and love them.

Doing more fun activities and talking together, enjoying each other’s company and simply being together helps everyone feel more connected and re-energized. We can all use a little prodding to make sure this happens.

Summertime is precious.  Don’t let it slip away.  A final thought — life crises and personal difficulties don’t disappear over the summer.  If you’re going through a rough period in your life and you can’t enjoy summer like you should, reach out to us.  The Peer Support Program is here for you and our CAPS volunteers can help.  All you have to do is get in touch.

Frema Engel,
Chair, Peer Support Program
July 21, 2016

CAPS Peer Support Program is CONFIDENTIAL. Our members are using it.  You can too.  Just reach out.  Contact us at: