A Change is as Good as a Rest

Stress and anxiety is part of modern day society. The pace of life is so fast that we have to keep up with it. Not surprisingly it can come at us when we least expect it. So taking yourself away from the situation and environment can make all the difference.


When you are in a situation it is sometimes hard to see what is causing these feelings. It’s a bit like the fish and the water. The fish doesn’t know the water is there until he is no longer in it. The same thing can be said for us and our situations. We are so busy dealing with whatever comes at us next, that we cannot see what it is doing to us.


All too often we find ourselves overdoing it, especially the ambitious achievers and entrepreneurs. But the successful ones use a technique known as the refueling principle. Studies have proved that a persons’ performance increases after a break of any duration. Even a 30 second micro break can make all the difference.


The longer we work on a task the harder it becomes to stay focused and attentive. Our problem solving skills wane and the brains ability to self-regulate reduces.


There are a number of daily activities you can build into your routine that allow you to break and recharge your brain. A trip to the coffee machine, vending machine or a cigarette break is not included on the list.


If you work indoors, a good thing to do is to go for a walk at lunchtime. Get away from your work environment for 30 minutes and just give your brain a rest. Go for a swim, cook a meal or spend time playing with the kids. Remember this is what your life is really about, not your work, so enjoy it. Give yourself time to enjoy yourself. Even if you love your job, it’s essential to take some mental time off.


We are no different to the technology devices we use everyday. How long does your smartphone last before it needs recharging? Think of yourself in the same way.


One study carried out on the brain found that mental fatigue occurs after just three hours of continuous time spent on-task. Other scientists recommend taking a break after 90 minutes, as this is the length of the “basic rest-activity cycle.”


At the weekends, switch off. Not just your brain but also your phone, or at least your email and social media alerts. If you get into the habit of not answering emails at the weekends, people will not send them to you. Or at least they will not expect any action to be taken. If you must check them, limit yourself to once or twice per day at set times, then forget about it.  Have fun, you are allowed to. Whatever needs to be done can and will wait. Otherwise you will burn out and be no good to anybody.

You don’t need to plan a long vacation, just make sure to keep taking regular breaks and get a change of scenery whenever you can. Even if you take a day trip out somewhere. Take a picnic and go exploring or pamper yourself, visit friends and family, just take time out.