That’s right. It’s almost mid-August, that awkward period where summer is about to come to an end and fall is right around the corner. It’s nearly time for school to start back up, summer vacations will be a memory, and the “usual” routine will resume.

For me, August signifies the time for us to all slow down and rest.

There is a natural slowdown period built into the end of summer. Most team sports complete their national championships and finish their competitions by the end of July; Labor Day is a few short weeks away; and the pace of an average summer day screams, “SLOW DOWN AND RELAX!”

For the athlete, August should be a time to recharge the battery, and depending on the sport, we recommend between two to six weeks of total rest. That doesn’t mean being a sloth, but instead of hill sprints, how about a long bike ride? Instead of box jumps, how about a slow walk or a gentle swim? For the recreational athlete or the weekend warrior, the same rules apply. If you have been working hard and taxing your body for the past few months, take the time to drink more water, move a little slower, and spend more time collecting your thoughts and reflecting on the long days past.

Even if you don’t consider yourself an athlete, the dog days of summer are the perfect time to relax and rejuvenate the body and mind.

Here are some quick tips to help maximize a sustained period of rest:

  • Drink more. Monitor your water intake and try to drink no less than 24 ounces per day.
  • Sleep more. There are several apps that help you prepare for sleep and get the best sleep possible. Try one, and shoot for eight hours of sleep per day. For the athlete, shoot for 9-10 hours.
  • Breathe deeply. Sit quietly for 10-15 minutes and listen to your slow controlled breath. It will improve as you pay attention.
  • Eat better. Summertime is a great time to cut down on the heavier foods and eat fresh salads and lean protein.
  • Don’t over-schedule yourself. Plan to do less.
  • Get out of town. Even if it’s just for a day or two. The change of scenery will do the body good.

With all of these tips in mind, I want you to get out there and do a lot less, at least for a couple more weeks!