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Summer. Summer! SUMMERTIME! 5 ways to recharge your (leadership) vibe

Sometime between April and May, soft spring days become electric with the buzz of neighborhood lawn mowers, children's laughter through open school bus windows, and the unmistakable whir of air conditioning units. Many of us eagerly await summertime, our memories chock full of endless days of swim lessons, ice cream cones, and the long-established tradition of summer vacation.

In the U.S., "summer vacation" was originally born of necessity, before the advent of air conditioning. Prior to the 19th century, schools were typically open year round. Attendance dramatically decreased in the summer months, though, when week after week of sweltering heat drove residents out of cities and to the coasts and the mountains in seek of salubrious breezes and cooler temps. (Agrarian Roots? Think Again. Debunking the myth of summer vacation's origins.) For many of us, summer vacation still finds us seeking retreat in destinations away from home. According to Travel Agent Central, 82% of Americans traveled in the summer of 2021.

If you are a hospitality or tourism leader, chances are very good that summer vacation is your busy season. Day after day, as June turns to July, and July melts into August, we step up to serve the rush of tourists who happily fill our hotels, restaurants, and attractions. (In my coastal hotels, we often joke that the month of July feels like it's ten weeks long. Humor is a great coping mechanism!) Joking aside, it's not always easy to be our best at work when it feels like everyone else is on vacation.

Your summer may not include a getaway vacation, but it's important that you still find time for rest & relaxation. Without it, your leadership style may quickly go from "motivational" to "hot, sweaty mess!" If you are feeling less like a leader, and more like the Tasmanian Devil, here are 5 Ways to Recharge your Vibe during summertime:

1) Set a daily intention that each day will include one sensory element of summer. Maybe you spend the first hour of your day walking through your neighborhood, dodging sprinklers. Or you might choose to wrap up your day by sharing an ice cream cone with a family member on the front steps after the sun goes down. Allow your sensory memory to recall the sights, sounds, tastes, and smells of summers past. (What is your favorite ice cream flavor, and why is it mint chocolate chip?)

2) Get lost in a book. Whether you are a voracious bookworm or an indifferent reader, getting lost in a book can be a vacation in itself. Summer is the perfect time to grab something off the shelf that is lighthearted and whimsical, with a plot that carries you away. Library book sales are the perfect place to pick up a handful of paperbacks, perfect for curling up with in the hammock or on the sofa. Need some recommendations? Check out Esquire's 20 Best Books of Summer 2022.

3) Get outside. I remember my mother frequently telling my sisters and I to "get outside" during summer vacation. Sometimes that meant spending time on our swingset, bravely kicking our feet up to the sky. Often it meant weeding our big family garden with Dad for an hour when he got home from work. When we were older, it meant riding our bikes to the swimming pool where we splashed around until we were expected home for dinner. Getting outside can be rejeuvenating for body & spirit. Get out of your work space and go for a hike or bike ride, schedule that round of golf, or kick the soccer ball around with your little ones after a long day.

4) Volunteer. If you are working crazy hours to keep up with the demands of summer travelers, you might laugh at the idea of adding yet another thing to your calendar. We typically think of volunteer hours as only beneficial to those we serve. But what if I told you that volunteering can help protect you during times of stress and depression? When you serve as a volunteer, you expand your social circle, you learn new skills, and you raise your self esteem. If you are experiencing increased stress as a hospitality professional during the months of summer, finding a place to volunteer may do wonders to improve your mental health.

5) Reconnect with friends. Summer, with its favorable temps and hours upon hours of sunlight, boasts an influx of social activities: concerts, picnics, barbecues, boat trips, picking strawberries, and more. These are the perfect opportunities to grab a friend and make new memories! Even though we are surrounded by people at work every day (tourists and team members who demand our attention), we may find ourselves feeling lonely. Even if you can't schedule that long weekend getaway with your friend group, make it a priority to put social outings with your friends on your calendar throughout the summer months.

Alright, hospitality leaders! June is halfway over and we still have to get through the ten weeks of July (haha!). How will YOU recharge YOUR vibe this summer? If you try one of the ideas from this list, please come back and share in the comments!

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