Take a Break

Do you ever feel so overwhelmed with work that you feel downright guilty taking a break? If so, the best way to get more done might surprise you….

Science tells us that people are more productive, accurate and engaged when they take regular breaks from work.  Letting our minds wander can lead to fresh perspectives, creative insights and reduced stress levels. There’s a strong case to be made that taking the time to unplug is not only beneficial for our mental and physical health, but may boost the health of our careers as well.

Cognitive disengagement.  Now there’s a term!!  Societally, we don’t like to take breaks – there’s this perception of laziness and not being “all in” so we bear down and work through.  Over time, this can wear us down.  Can you relate?  Most of us can….

Studies show that our subconscious mind is 800 times more powerful than our conscious mind.  Let that one land!  Ever wonder why when you walk away from something and come back to it, suddenly you have a breakthrough?  We now know that by stepping away, we give our brain the opportunity to have a breakthrough moment as the subconscious is allowed to work through the problems you’ve been slogging through all day. Cognitive disengagement allows the brain to recharge its batteries, so to speak, allowing us to return to the problem with a fresh perspective and renewed energy.

In a New York Times article, The Busy Trap, Tim Kreider wrote

“The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration—it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done.”

Many years ago I read The Power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz.  The concepts in the book have still to this day, stayed with me and serve as a go to for me when recalibrating my own energy levels.  Tony Schwartz has now offered us a deeper dive into the subject matter with Be Excellent at Anything.  In it there are 4 core sources of energy for us to build on and deepen:

  1. Be Excellent at AnythingSustainability (the physical) – being able to renew and take care of yourself so that you are healthy, fit, and resilient.
  2. Security (the emotional) – feeling appreciated, cared for, valued for who you are and what you do.
  3. Self-Expression (the mental) – freedom to express your unique skills and talents.
  4. Significance (the spiritual) – a sense of meaning or what you stand for and believe in.

Don’t cheat yourself – take your me-time.  Or as I like to term it with clients, “Pay mind to how you TIME IN.”  You may just find that your happiness meter goes up too, which is an amazing side benefit. 🙂

Circle of Life

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