It’s December. Things are slowing down. We are all anticipating the end-of-year holiday break. Perhaps you’ve even started winding things down for the year?
In the US, the week between Christmas and New Year’s seems to be the one time of year when we collectively give ourselves permission to go offline, stop looking at emails, and actually relax. The schools are closed. Most of our corporate businesses, if they are open at all, are quiet, operating on a skeleton staff while the rest of us relax, recharge, and spend time with our families – without the constant ding of incoming text and email chimes.
But why do we have to wait all year for this tiny break? Frankly, we’re really just starting to fully relax before we have to pick up our laptops and begin the grind all over again.
We all know that the stress of constant connection to technology, long work hours, and juggling too many priorities isn’t healthy.
But what we don’t know (or acknowledge very often) is that being more relaxed, taking more time away from our never-ending workload, actually makes us more productive.
Take my writing, for instance. If I sit down to write without having a good idea in my head already, staring at a blank screen doesn’t help. A lot of writing advice tells you to sit your butt in a chair in front of the computer and stay there until you get something done, which is typical advice from our culture.
Just do it. Suck it up. Get it done and get it done now.
But I could stare at a screen for hours and get nothing done.
When I get stuck, the best thing I can do is get focused on the present. This means using my Positive Intelligence® skills to get my brain functioning at an optimal level. Here are a few examples of things that work for me:
- Take a walk outside and be very attentive to the sights and sounds of nature or any other environment.
- Take a shower and be present to all the sensations of that activity.
- Do a ten-minute breathwork session, focusing on my breathing and the sensations in my body.
I also need time away from my work entirely. (Hint: so do you!)
When I turn off my computer at night or on the weekends, it gives my mind a chance to rest.
And what happens during that rest time is magical!
How? It gives my subconscious a chance to process and generate new ideas that I probably wouldn’t have come up with if I hadn’t given my active mind a rest.
For example, when I’m trying to solve a problem, the best thing I can do is not to think about it. Our thinking, especially under stress, often occurs in the survivor part of our brain, which is NOT where our best ideas come from!
So, how much time do you take away from your work? How many hours a day, a week, a month do you give yourself and your brain a rest?
I hope it’s not just the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day!
As you prepare for 2024, I challenge you to create more space for yourself. Take a rest at least one day every week.
I guarantee you’ll be more productive than if you just kept working through it.
In the meantime, enjoy the holiday season… and don’t forget to breathe!
PS – If you’d like to learn more about how Positive Intelligence can improve your mental fitness, book a consultation to discover what might be a good fit for you!