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“When the well’s dry, we know the worth of water.” – Benjamin Franklin
How many of us run ourselves ragged on a regular basis? My days usually go something like this:
Get the kids ready, get them to school, protein bar and coffee on the way into work, work all day (probably more if there’s a deadline coming up), pick up kids from school/activities, make and eat dinner, get the kids to bed, maybe a little laundry, bed…
We all do some form of it; grind at work and show up for our loved ones. Eventually, your tank goes to E and you come down with the flu, migraine, ulcer, whatever.. and you’re no good to anybody.
The effects of stress are well documented, with symptoms like heart disease, anxiety, depression, insomnia, migraines, gastrointestinal issues
That’s why taking care of yourself should be a priority in your life. We live in a corporate culture where taking an extended vacation has a negative connotation. Those views are slowly changing, demonstrated by some progressive companies offering unlimited time off. The awful truth is that we all judge our co-workers, colleagues, employers, when they 1) take time off frequently or, 2) take more than 1 week off. We all think, “must be nice..”
Don’t lie, you’ve thought that before.
Truth is, those people are more relaxed and productive. Their quality of work and output is higher than the people who work long hours and don’t take a vacation. Some countries in Europe are experimenting with a 4 day work week. Data shows you can get as much accomplished in 4 days as we currently do with our 5 day work week.
Taking vacation isn’t always possible for new parents like my wife and me, but it is important to take care of yourself. Some easy ways to take mini-breaks throughout the week are:
- Go for a walk
- Go out for lunch
- Read a book
- Take a 15-minute break to jam out to your favorite tunes
- Go to the gym
Make it a priority to get moving. Find a physical activity you can get excited about. I enjoy playing basketball so I joined a Men’s Basketball League. Most people give up because they pick exercise they hate.
Getting active helps keep your brain sharp. It also releases a lot of feel-good chemicals to relieve the negative symptoms of stress.
SLEEP is very important. It’s even more important than exercise (if you had to choose between the two). Getting a good mattress can make a huge difference in the quality of sleep you get. Even if you’re not sleeping as much as you’d like…
My point is, we all need to step back sometimes and take a breath. The better we care for ourselves, the more we can accomplish. Make it a priority to sit down and plan time for self-care throughout the week. Stick to the plan and see how much better you’ll feel and accomplish.