For a majority of Americans, August’s arrival means time for vacation. This is the month many organizations quiet down as employees scatter to various destinations (or opt for a restful “staycation” close to home).
It’s important to step away from work for a week or two each year for some real, honest unplugging from your iPhone, email, and any other work. But we can’t expect a week or two of vacation to sustain us throughout the year. We also need to build consistent times of rest into our everyday rhythm.
So while you may be away from the office this month (or even if you work through August, it’s likely a bit quieter than usual), take some time to consider how you can build rest into your life on a regular basis.
Here’s a few ideas to get you started:
Make sure you get outside every day. This might be easier said than done depending on the time of year, but getting some fresh air isn’t just good for your health - it’s shown to boost productivity, too. Use your lunch break to take a quick walk or get up a few minutes earlier to sip your coffee on your back porch. Use weekends to get outside and be active, especially if you work a desk job. Moving and breathing fresh air will help settle a restless mind, get your blood flowing and make you a happier, healthier, more productive employee.
Schedule a “sabbath” (and it doesn’t have to be Sunday). The concept of a sabbath has religious roots in Jewish and Christian traditions, but setting aside an entire day to rest from work is a helpful practice whether you use that day to worship or not. Dedicating an entire day to rest signals to yourself and others that work is not the be-all, end-all of your life; it also builds a weekly habit of turning off your cell phone, focusing on loved ones, and giving your brain a break. Go on a hike, read a book for fun, or cook dinner for friends. Waiting until tomorrow to worry about work can transform your mental health and prevent burnout.
Invest in a hobby or learn a new skill unrelated to work. We all rest differently [link to first blog], and determining what activities are restful for you is critical to ensure you rest well. But a little intellectual stimulation apart from your day job can go a long way to refreshing and restoring your mind. If you’re an extrovert, sign up for a cooking class with friends. Do you tend to be more introverted? Hit the local library and pick up a few books that engage your mind. Zoning out on Facebook doesn’t tend to be restful in a meaningful way. Instead, get outside your comfort zone and engage in a stimulating and fun activity.
When September rolls around, give yourself the gift of rest by scheduling intentional time away from work and filling it with people and activities that engage, renew, and restore you.