The summer is here. School is out and your internship or full-time job is getting started. Or, if you’re like me, the summer means time for some serious strategic thinking and reflection. A while back, I wrote about how we all should take a vacation. I stand by that post, but realize that we can only take a vacation every once in a while. So, here are a few ways you can take a few minutes to center yourself so that you’re more productive, focused, and more creative.
Go for a fifteen minute walk, leaving your smartphone behind. It’s amazing what you can do with just a few minutes. That fifteen minute walk should be just enough time to refocus on a problem you’re having trouble solving. Or, you could use that time to cool off if you’re frustrated. The key is leaving your stressers (ie: smartphone w/email, texts, etc.) behind. Tell someone you’re going for a short walk, and then do it. Believe me, everyone in the office won’t even know you’re gone since the time is so short.
Go for a short run. This is what helps me break away from everything. Do I think about work as I run? Sure, but then magic happens. Endorphins kick in as I exercise more, clearing my head, putting me in a better mood, and making me just a little bit healthier. I’m participating in Runner’s World magazine’s “run streak” this year, pledging to run at least one mile every day from Memorial Day through Independence Day. Want to join me? Follow me at @runbcuz and use the hashtag #rwrunstreak. Let’s streak together. :) PS. I’m training for my second (and last) full marathon and have found several fitness apps to be very beneficial. Click here for details.
Get up and say hello to a few people around the office. Ever emailed the person that sits just a few feet from your desk? Yeah, me neither. Take a few minutes to stretch and walk around the office. Say hello to your co-workers. Smile. Not only does this help you de-stress, it helps them! It’s amazing what a smile and simple “hello” can do. Just be sure to be cognizant of their time and workspace – knowing the difference between popping in for a quick “hi” and starting a full conversation is crucial. If you need to talk to them beyond pleasantries, schedule the time.
Read a few chapters of a non-work related book. I’m a big fan of James Patterson and Michael Crichton. Why? Both authors take me into a world that is real, yet fictional. I don’t have to apply business principles or solve a problem. All I have to do is read the book, escaping for a few minutes into the pageantry of storytelling. It’s a good “brain break” and only takes a few minutes. Read a few pages to get your creative juices flowing, and then go back to what you were working on. You might find that you accomplish what you’re working on much more easily now.
I know there are a LOT more ways to de-stress. The key is that you actually get away from what it is that has required so much of your focus. Take a break. Do it for your health. Do it for your sanity. Do it for the sanity and health of those around you. Do it for you. You can do it!
Any other ideas on de-stressing? Let’s hear them! Please leave a comment below. As always, thanks for reading.