Many of us have full schedules. We run to the office and work all day. Sometimes past 5pm, then we run home to take care of the kids and the family. Often times staying up late into the night to finish everything. We are constantly on the go. This can be very draining. While we think we are accomplishing more by staying busy, we are actually not as alert and refreshed as we can be.

Ever notice when you get back from a truly relaxing (I did nothing but sit on the beach for a week) vacation, that you seem to be more productive? The ideas just fly from your brain? That project that had you stumped before you left, now seems so simple.

By taking time for ourselves we recharge our batteries. Now I know it’s impossible to take a weeks’ vacation all the time. But there are a few things you can do to take work on you.

  1. Take a break and sit in a quiet place and listen to your favorite music. Do not think about deadlines, or dance recitals, just listen to the music and breathe. You can even sit outside in the sunshine with your headphones on. Double relaxing time.
  2. Take mini breaks every hour. Just take 5 minutes to get up and walk around. Gossip around the water cooler, or go see an office mate and make a lunch date. Do anything but think about work. Even a short mental break can help you get back on track. Your mind needs a moment to decompress and come back to the problem fresh.
  3. On your lunch break, do not sit at your desk. Remove yourself from your cubicle. Staring at the same 4 walls all day can be depressing. While on your lunch break do not work. You can write in a journal, read a few chapters in that book you wanted to start, or call a friend to chat. Again you want to get your mind off work. Give yourself permission to enjoy your lunch break as you want.
  4. When at home schedule you time. Let the kids and spouse know that this is your do not disturb time. Perhaps this is when you go out for a run, no cell phone, or anyone who may want to talk. Peace and quiet is what you need. Take a bath, or long hot shower. Watch your favorite TV show. I love just sitting in front of the TV and watching something mindless and fun.
  5. Take the evening off the night. If you have a big deadline, presentation or exam, relax and stop the night before and get a good night’s sleep. Trying to cram that last bit of information in your head will not work. This will just stress you more.

When you run yourself ragged you are no good to anyone. Stress can cause you to get sick faster, make rash decisions, and become upset easier. By taking time for yourself you will be more productive in the long run.

Originally published in the Democrat & Chronicle on June 24th, 2015.