Now that it’s officially summer, our blazers and wool office attire have been pushed to the back of the closet. We can all agree that summertime is about being a little less hurried—especially since tons of folks are in and out of the office so the pressure at work is dialed back a bit.
Summertime is a sweet spot for that holy grail we like to call work-life balance. The longer days and warm weather beckon us to summer festivals, picnics, barbecues, vacations, or between the inviting pages of a good book. We’re able to tend to our personal gardens a bit—the garden being a metaphor for the activities we gravitate towards when we feel relaxed and less pressured. Engaging in activities that bring you pleasure and balance is so important, but we sometimes put it off or don’t allow ourselves to fully engage in them. I loosely chalk this up to our upbringing and what we have been told as people of color.
As people of color, we sometimes subscribe to the thinking that we don’t always get to smell the roses. There’s always work to be done and lounging is perceived as a form of laziness. We’ve been told that hiking a mountain or yoga retreats aren’t our thing, that it’s for “those people.” Granted times are changing: Travel Noire and Nomadness Travel Tribe have shown us that Black professionals are game for new adventures. But what if you just can’t pick up and go to South Africa or hike in Kenya just yet? Then, in that case, tend to your garden right where you are.
My challenge to you this summer is to cultivate your personal garden by indulging in activities that bring you joy. For me, these activities include reading African and Black literature, hiking, biking, and lounging at the pool with my little people. Summer festivals, meetups, happy hours, and an occasional nightcap at a swanky rooftop bar is a must.
While the above activities may work for me, they might not be up your alley. I challenge you to make a list of all of the activities both local and distant that you have been wanting to do and knock a few items off the list this summer. Whichever way you find balance, do those activities this summer. Pairing personal pleasures with your work to-do list will help you breathe a little easier at work.
As Billie Holiday said, “It’s summertime and the livin’ is easy.” Let yourself live a bit this summer and put work in the back seat for a spell.
Janet Asante is a human resources executive with 18 years of leadership experience and a successful track record serving as trusted advisor to executive leadership team members and employees from all walks of life. She has comprehensive HR leadership experience in private, non-profit, government and information technology industries. Janet is passionate about helping people of color bring their best self to work and navigate challenges at workplaces everywhere.
This article is part of our fulfilled series. Read more from women discussing what it means to them to feel fulfilled.