Tip of the Week
Tip: Avoid the summer slump!
I am a big baseball fan! I am not a fanatic, but I do enjoy going to an Atlanta Braves game and taking my grandchildren with me whenever possible. For years it has been our tradition to go eat dinner at The Varsity, a famous restaurant here in Atlanta, before heading over to the ballpark to watch the game. There is nothing quite like it! (If you are ever in Atlanta, those are two of the activities you should include on your agenda!)
Anyway…back to my point. Sometimes a baseball player will go through an incredibly dry spell. It just seems like regardless of what he does, he can’t hit the ball anymore. Because baseball is pretty much a summer sport, this phenomenon is known as the “summer slump.” Ironically, it can be contagious, starting with first one player and then spreading to others until eventually the whole team is affected and no one is playing at their best. Because it can be deadly to a team, baseball players don’t like to talk much about the summer slump. When I worked with the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball team, I quickly learned that they would do everything in their power to avoid this situation.
The summer slump is something that affects not only baseball players, but can affect us in our own personal life and business, as well. Very few of us will ever play professional baseball, but we can learn how to avoid this challenge. It usually begins when we just don’t feel emotionally, mentally, or spiritually as well as we would like. We find ourselves restless and empty, trying to find something to fill that void that is inside of us. We may find ourselves looking frantically to other people to help make us feel better. And, yet, we know that our own happiness and well-being does not lie in the hands of another person. We may try to avoid feeling our feelings and dealing with issues that we know are ours alone. If you find yourself doing that, you can bet you are headed for a summer slump.
But, remember this – while they are normal and even a necessary part of life, slumps don’t last forever! It is sort of like the rain. Most of us prefer sunshine, but someone once wisely noted that a place with all sunshine and no rain is called a desert.
To get through the summer slump, we can begin to focus on our own behaviors and observe how we handle life when things are not necessarily going our way. We do not need to be ashamed that we are facing some down time. But, we cannot unreasonably expect ourselves to be perfect either. Sometimes a slump can go on for days or weeks and then all of a sudden, in a matter of minutes or hours, we will begin to pull out of it and feel better.
I want to share with you a few behaviors and attitudes that I’ve learned to practice when I find myself in a summer slump because I have found them helpful. Focusing on these behaviors can change my attitude and start me on the uphill climb out of that slump and I believe they can help you, too.
#1 – Act as if. Act as if things are better, even though they may not be. Doing this helps put your feet on the right path, headed in a direction that will lead you out of the slump. Stated another way, “Fake it until you make it.”
#2 – One day at a time. Focus on each day as it comes, realizing that today is the only day you have. You cannot change yesterday nor are you promised tomorrow. Live today to its fullest. If you won’t try to help your own situation then who will?
#3 – Trading places. Even on your worst day, there are millions of people in this world who would love to trade places with you. No matter how difficult you may think your life is, there is always someone who has it worse than you and who would gladly trade places with you this very minute.
#4 – Easy does it. While I do believe that if you are hard on yourself, life will be easy on you; and if you are easy on yourself, life will be hard on you, it does no good to be overly hard or harsh with yourself when you are already down. When you must face the hard truth about yourself, you still can do it with gentleness, love and encouragement. Be on your own team!
#5 – Remember to H.A.L.T. when necessary – The words for that acrostic are Hungry, Angry, Lonely, and Tired. If you are feeling any one of those, it is always a good idea to take a break from your normal routine and take care of yourself. If you will do that, it won’t be long until you are feeling better and the summer slump begins to lift.
I was recently feeling sort of down myself, so I practiced what I am preaching. I took three of my grandchildren to get a popsicle. On the way back home, we passed a carnival set up in the local Kmart parking lot. I decided to stop. Sure, it was cheesy and sleezy. Sure, it was expensive. And, certainly I was extra careful and watchful in that atmosphere. But, by the time we left, I was feeling much better and was flying higher than a kite. (Maybe it was something in the cotton candy!)
I want you to have a great summer and enjoy life. I want you to love your family, your friends, and yourself. Life is too short to be in a summer slump! So, start practicing those behaviors (and others that you find help you), and it won’t be long until you will be standing beside me on the All Star team this year!
Tip: Avoid the summer slump!
Have a great week! God bless you!
Dr. Robert A. Rohm