It’s the year 2018 and technology has made us more connected than ever before. While this comes with countless benefits, constant connectivity has unfortunately blurred the lines between work and personal life. 38 percent of Americans say they check their work email routinely at the dinner table. 44 percent check it daily while on vacation. And a whopping 50 percent admit to checking their smartphones before they even get out of bed in the morning.
And when you step foot in the office, it’s even worse. Your inbox is overflowing with messages, your phone is ringing off the hook, and you’re bouncing from one meeting to the next. Sometimes it seems to never stop. While it’s okay to be busy if it means you’re making a positive contribution to the world, balance is key. But as a business owner, I have found that it’s increasingly difficult – if not impossible – to turn off, tune out, and ultimately achieve this balance.
That’s where surfing comes in.
While there are many ways to find balance in your day – walking meetings, stretching at your desk, meditating, to name a few – I’ve always found solace in the ocean. Fortunately, our office is two blocks away from the beach so I can typically jump in on my lunch break as well, but I know most people only have time to catch a few waves before work – even if that means setting your alarm clock an hour or two early. While I could easily come up with 100 reasons to surf before work, I’ll stick to the five main points that have made me happier, healthier, and more productive throughout the day.
1. Reliving Blissful Memories
Surfing has been a passion of mine for years, and as any surfer can probably relate, it’s associated with so many unforgettable memories – from that surf trip to Bali with my best buddies, to pushing my oldest son into his first waves. Every time I put on my wetsuit and paddle out, those euphoric feelings we call stoke are recreated to some degree, and this process of positive catharsis is an invigorating way to start the day.
2. Connection with Nature
You can’t bring your smartphone in the water with you, so surfing is a great way to disconnect, clear your mind, and surrender yourself to the moment. Your morning surf sesh might also be the only time of day you get outside to soak in that vitamin-D. Over time, surfing teaches you how to read the waves, forming a deep and intimate connection with the ocean, which accounts for more than 70 percent of our planet. You will gain a new appreciation of the world we live in.
Throughout history, people have turned to the ocean for its healing properties, and studies show that being near the ocean can make you calmer and more creative. The ebb and flow of waves have a meditative effect which slows your heart rate, reduces anxiety, and puts you in a clear state of mind for the day. Even when the waves aren’t pumping, finding peace and solitude in the stillness between sets is therapeutic, and helps improve your patience.
If your days are like mine, they’re probably chaotic and unpredictable, so having a healthy, consistent morning habit can be grounding, even if the surf doesn’t always cooperate. Some of the world’s most successful people have stated that having a consistent morning ritual helps set them up for success, so why not have your routine be something you truly enjoy?
Some people go on a run or practice yoga before work, but surfing is my workout of choice because it’s the perfect harmony of strength training and cardio that also improves your flexibility, balance, and endurance. Any form of exercise releases endorphins to keep your stress levels in check, but surfing comes with all the added benefits listed above that you just can’t get from lifting weights at a gym. It’s not just about burning calories, but reaping the emotional rewards as well.
Whether it’s 30 minutes or 3 hours, surfing before work in the morning puts me in the right mental state to tackle any project, pitch, or problem I might encounter in the office. It also helps me become a more relaxed, satisfied, and grateful person in all aspects of my life. If you’re ever in San Diego, give me a shout, I’m happy to take you for a paddle – the ocean is our backyard.