It is a warm and sunny afternoon in Amsterdam, maybe one of the last this year. I’m sitting at city beach Strandzuid with a glass of fresh orange juice. Due to the many site inspections I was quite busy, so I decided that it would be wise to take a day off. But my workaholic self bars me from relaxing. I feel naughty, even guilty because I’m not sitting at my desk like everybody else.
Does this sound familiar to you? Most of us are too busy too enjoy free time. We hurry from deadline to deadline and work extra hours just to end up with more work than before. Most of us feel so stressed and exhausted that we beg for break. But there is always another item on our task list we have to finish before.
However, we all would benefit from regular breaks. Not only, that we need the time to relax, a day off can also help us to work more efficiently. According to neuroscience research, after focusing intensively on a project, our brain needs to fully disengage and relax. The time, when we are apparently doing nothing is an important period of recovery to our brain. When we calm down it starts to sort things out, reorganize, discard and store information and thoughts.
If we postpone our breaks too long, our physical and mental performances will decline. If you are racing around all day, ticking things off lists, checking your mail, making phone calls and hurry to appointment you are not going to have any creative ideas. On the other hand, we all know the phenomenon of waking up after a night of good sleep, and the solution for the biggest problems come to our minds.
Thus, a day off from time to time keeps your mind fresh and your performance at top levels. Of course, it is not always necessary to take a whole day off. Try to integrate small breaks into your regular working day. Here are some tips.
- Instead of eating your sandwich at your desk, take a short walk, find a nice place to sit and enjoy your surroundings while you have your lunch.
- Put on your favourite music while checking your email
- Your office has the most disgusting coffee in the city? Walk to the coffee shop around the corner to get your favourite flavour.
- Call your partner or best friend for a short chat. Say something nice.
- Free your feet and take off your shoes under the desk.
What is your tip to relax at work? How do you stay energized during long projects. Please share your tip with me.