Autumn leaves I’ve just returned to my office after my much anticipated ‘Space’ month My plan was to take four whole weeks to recharge my batteries, relax and restore after a full-on year, do some life admin and get some lovely deep thinking done on my work with non-profit leaders. Well – it didn’t turn out quite like that!

Both my teenage daughters came down with COVID, poor things, and at different times too, so illness and isolating messed big-time with holidays and breaks. The girls didn’t get away with their Dad as expected (so no ‘me-time’ for mum) and there was that not-so-great UK weather, too. All in all, I didn’t quite get the space I was yearning for (although time on the fringes of Dartmoor was lovely – just not long enough).

The days are shortening, here in the UK. There’s an Autumny feel in the air. Children are going back to school. And yet I haven’t got that excited curious, ‘back to school’ vibe I normally have at this time of year. You neither? I’m hearing this a lot from the non-profit coaching clients I’ve been working with lately. For one reason or another, this summer hasn’t quite given many of us the refresh we yearned for. I know I absolutely need that reset to launch myself into a new term, so what earth to do to tackle the challenges of the coming year without the zing that a proper break brings?

Here are my three top tips, based on what I hope to do. Let’s give it a go together.

1. Plan a mini awayday

Between now and Christmas, plan for a little break once a month, 2 or 3 days if you can. You don’t have to go away – a break at home can be just as good – but make sure that you step out of your usual routine and do something completely different. A change is as good as a rest, as they say, and sometimes these old clichés are clichés because they’re true!

2. Explore a mindfulness practice

If you’ve never tried those micro-space moments that can be achieved by yoga, meditation or some form of mindfulness, shrug off that scepticism and give it a try. You don’t have to get down with the downward dogs. You don’t have to sit cross-legged and go ‘Ohm’ if that’s not your thing. But it really is worth exploring some practice which takes you out of yourself (and your entirely understandable everyday worries) every two or three days or so. Friends catching up in the countryside

3. Catch up with an old friend (and don’t talk about work!)

And remember the power of the social space. One way to recapture the sense of perspective you may have missed this summer, is hanging out with an old friend who’s nothing to do with the current source of your stress, whatever that may be – home, family, whatever. Someone who you can just be you with. Autumn is a crowded time, in many ways the most crowded of the year work-wise. Deliberately going outside that rather manic flow is a great way to recapture a sense of space. Book the time. Don’t talk about work and you will soon create some little islands of blissful relief for yourself.

What about you?

Did you manage to find the space you needed this summer? Did the constant (extra) stress of the pandemic hinder your holiday or were you able to switch off? It can feel overwhelming when you aren’t able to take space away from work and the stress can quickly build up, so it’s worth taking time to see what you may need and put some small actions in place.

What’s Next?

Remember that you don’t need to navigate difficult times on your own. If you need support, please do ask for it. If you feel I could help, I’d love to hear from you. Just fill in the form below or drop me an email and I’ll get back to you as quickly as I can.

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